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Plays / by Clyde Fitch ; edited, with an introd., by Montrose J. Moses and Virginia Gerson. (vol. 4) Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-267-31959121v4 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Plays / by Clyde Fitch ; edited, with an introd., by Montrose J. Moses and Virginia Gerson. (vol. 4) Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909. Little, Brown, Boston : 1920, c1915. 4 v. : ill., ports. ; 20 cm. Coleman v. 1. Beau Brummell. Lovers' lane. Nathan Hale -- v. 2. Barbara Frietchie. Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. The climbers -- v. 3. The stubbornness of Geraldine. The girl with the green eyes. Her own way -- v. 4. The woman in the case. The truth. The city. Microfilm. v. 1-4. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1995. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN05107 KUK) Printing Master B92-267. In order to complete the set, v. 3 was borrowed from Emory University. Various printings. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Brummell, Beau, 1778-1840 Drama. Hale, Nathan, 1755-1776 Drama. Frietchie, Barbara, 1766-1862 Drama.Moses, Montrose Jonas, 1878-1934. Gerson, Virginia. ltmorial Ebition PLAYS BY CLYDE FITCH IN FOUR VOLUMES VOLUME FOUR I -THE OTHER HOUSE Clyde Fitch in the Rose Garden. Katonah, New York jlemorial XEtition PLAYS BY CLYDE FITCH IN FOUR VOLUMES VOLUME FOUR THE WOMAN IN THE CASE THE TRUTH THE CITY EDITED 1sV MONTROSE J. MOSES AND VIRGINIA GERSON N DN EFER BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 1921 Copyright, iiS, BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY. Set up and electrotyped by J. S. Cushing Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A, PREFATORY NOTE CLYDE FITCH was one of the very few American dramatists to enjoy an international reputation. He was often criticized by the Press for a certain foreign tone which sometimes crept into his ori'r - nal plays; and undoubtedly, he was influencedl b)y the technique of the French school in his (dC- lineation of feminine psychology. Perlhaps none of his plays enjoyed a more wide-spread recogni- tion than "The Truth." The stage history of this drama was precarious at the outset of its American career, for, though in many ways it was an artistic success, heightened by the deftness of Mrs. ClanL Bloodgood's acting, it was accounted a financial failure; and Mr. Fitch reached what might 1w described as his lowest ebb of discouragement. The play opened in New York on January 7, I907, and, in a letter of January i i, Mr. Fitch wrote that, though some of the criticisms proclaimed this play his very best, the praise had arrived too late. The whole situation he described as being heart-break- V PREFATORY NOTE ing. "If the business increases sufficiently," he wrote, " they will keep it on and give it a chance! If by the middle of next week the business is not good, it will be taken off in three weeks! It will be a dreadful blow to me, and a discouragement which I do not like to face in my present tired condition. . . ." Later on in the month, at the same time that his manager was discussing the possibilities of taking off " The Truth ", a proposal was made that the play be given at special mati- nees. "I fear this will kill it!" wrote Mr. Fitch, "I am worn out and bitterly disappointed. Frohman does it in London in March, but this is what counted for me." The career of the play, after this disastrous record, is of an entirely different nature, for it would seem that, from the moment it was pre- sented in London, it began to be reckoned as one of Mr. Fitch's technical triumphs. He went to London for the opening of "The Truth ", and the day after the first performance he wrote: "There was not a hiss nor a boo. But they cheered and cheered and shouted 'Bravo' after every act; and at the end kept it up, and then began calling for me. I had decided not to go out, so finally the manager came before the curtain and said -'Mr. Clyde Fitch is not in the house.' I was behind a box curtain: Tempest is wonderful." vi PREFATORY NOTE After its success in England, "The Truth" had a notable career in Germany, Italy, Russia, Hun- gary, and Scandinavia. In a letter from Berlin, dated April iS, i908, Mr. Fitch wrote concerning the German produc- tion of "The Truth": "The house was full, and so appreciative. Tt had been announced that the author was coming to see the play; and at the end of the piece, the audience rose and cheered, and called me out three times. They said nothing of this sort had ever happened in Ham- l)urg in the middle of the run of a play. The piece is being arranged for in the best theatres all over Germany. They expect it to be staged in three here." Revived by Winthrop Ames in New York City, at the Little Theatre, during the Spring of 1914, the admirers of Clyde Fitch realized what they had maintained ever since his death, that his comedies retain much of the vitality they origi- nally possessed, their humor and character values being as apposite as ever. Those who assembled for the dress rehearsal of "The Truth" on the evening of April II, I9r4, felt again that lrilliant, youthful, personal note which Mr. Fitch always put into his plays, and which constitutedl much of his charm as a playwright. Though more than seven years had passed since its first vii PREFATORY NOTE performance, it was just as timely as ever; and the characteristics which raised it out of its locale into a larger study of feminine lying, seemed to have gained more poignancy with the years. In actual date of composition, "The Truth" was preceded by "The Woman in the Case ", the latter attaining a popularity abroad which did not exceed that of "The Truth ", but which still continues, inasmuch as preparations are now afoot for its presentation in Spain. During that period of his career which brought forth "The Woman in the Case ", Mr. Fitch met with many failures; and that despondent tone, detected in the letter previously quoted, was only a cul- mination of the repeated lack of sympathy which met him journalistically on all sides in America. A characteristic letter was written by him from "Quiet Corner ", just after the failure of "The Coronet of the Duchess." "Midnight. Dear : A log fire, Boots, Fiametta, and Clan, all sprawled about, and ME at the table writing. I feel very small in this house alone, and somehow the failure of the play seems bigger! I have worked hard to-day, though; just as if I felt the public was crazy for me! I go to rehearsal of the 'Her Own Way' company to-morrow." Another one of his failures at this time was the slim little viii PREFATORY NOTE comedy, "Glad of It ", and he now waked up to the fact that it would be necessary for him to write something strong and something different, in order to hold attention and to bring his public back to him. It was this which prompted him in the creation of his melodramatic "The Woman in the Case." The morning after the opening of the play, when the papers were unanimous in praising him for the dramatic effectiveness of the one big scene, he wrote: "It is what I told you I knew I must do! And I have done it, and oh, I cannot tell you the relief' The strain before I saw the papers was almost more than I could stand. " The stage history of "The City ", as it pertains to Mr. Fitch, is an incomplete record; for, when he left on his final trip to Europe in June, I909, while the manuscript was practically completed, he had reserved the finishing touches until re- hearsals were well under way. Undoubtedly the play was prompted by two dominant desires on the part of the dramatist: first, to prove to his public his capability of creating character and situations that were strictly masculine in their attitude and strength; and secondly, the quiet life lived by Mr. Fitch at "The Other House ", in Katonah, brought into sharp contrast the de- mands and strains of the city upon individual ix PREFATORY NOTE character. With these two dominant purposes, it might be said that from the personal side "The City" contains more of Mr. Fitch's firm convic- tion, and from the autobiographical side shows more of the deepening of his personal psychology than any of his other plays. Those who visited him during the writing of this piece were naively and joyously taken into his confidence; he dis- cussed his scenes, he asked advice about his char- acters, he planned with his friends while he was motoring or walking; so that even before the play was actually put upon paper, those who were close to him were as familiar with his intentions regarding 'The City" as he was himself. During this time, we were privileged to see much of Mr. Fitch, and to study his methods of workmanship. We remember one morning, when motoring, we were held up on the road because of a flat tire; and, while repairs were being made, Mr. Fitch sat down on a boulder near the roadway, took out his note-book, and wrote the main dialogue of one of his scenes in "The City." There was no af- fectation on his part in doing this; it was simply an illustration of the continued exuberance of his inventive powers. And when he was through, he read to us what he had written, and for the rest of the journey the theme of "The City " was criticized from every angle that was worrying x PREFATORY NOTE him at the time. We remember a few davs before his sailing, he hastily commented on the changes, the close constructions, the more or- ganic drawing together of dialogue in " The City ', which he would make on his return in the Fall. Then came the trip, with loiters and post cards hastily written on tour, giving instructions as to the assembling of his cast, as to the delivery of the scenery, and as to the exact (late of first rehearsals; and then the dire tragedy, which occurred while he was actually en route to Cherburg, where he intended to take the steamer for home. "The City ", therefore, was presented to the pub- lic without the personal touch of the dramatist, which had meant so much throughout his career to his other plays. It was a sad assembling of the company which took place at the Lyric Theatre. and in the auditorium there sat two or three of Mr. Fitch's friends, invited by the management to lie present at the rehearsals, inasmuch as they, through their close contact with the dramatist, would represent in part his personal views, as outlined to them in friendly talk. They knew what he had told them he was going to do, and through their efforts " The City " was finally given in a form which, if it did not wholly accord with the ideas Mr. Fitch would have embodied, at least xi PREFATORY NOTE reflected in part what he had in mind before he sailed. On May 23, i909, we find a reference in a letter written by Mr. Fitch, which shows how deeply "The City" represented his personal point of view. After he had finished the second act, he confessed that he realized he would have to cut the discussions between the two men; but he admitted that he hated to do it, because there was meaning in each word. "I know I will have to," he wrote, "but I will wait and cut as they rehearse." The consequence is that the reading public is being given that significant dialogue, as Mr. Fitch himself liked it. Horrible as the theme of the play is in many ways, it is a most trenchant piece of work; not as subtle in its delineation of character as "The Truth" or "The Girl with the Green Eyes "; equally as melodramatic and theat- rical as "The Woman in the Case"; but more powerful than anything he had ever done before. During the last visit paid to Mr. Fitch, while we were discussing his many activities of the past season, we remember the keen pleasure he showed over the invitations extended to him by the uni- versities to deliver an address, which had grown into considerable proportions from an article, " The Play and the Public ", published in a popu- lar magazine. This lecture he had only recently xii PREFATORY NOTE xiii delivered at Yale and at Harvard, and in many ways he had amended it and improved upon its first form. This corrected manuscript, after the dramatist's death, was mislaid, and it has only recently come to light. We therefore believe that it has an integral part in this Memorial Edition, inasmuch as, aside from its technical truths, it reveals so much of the personality of the author: in the light of a very close observer of plays, players, and playgoers. And as we have had occasion to emphasize the friendship of Mr. Fitch for his friends, we believe that this lecture shows him, in addition, a very earnest friend of the public. MONTROSE J. MOSES, VIRGINIA GERSON. NEW YORK, JULY, I9Q5. This page in the original text is blank. THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC By CLYDE FITCH I MAKE no pretensions and have no illusions concerning myself or the subject I am about to discuss. I am only a sincere, straightforward person, and what I have to say is only a simple, straightforward talk, - not too idealistic - not profound -not meant to be either - but, on the other hand, neither is it pretentious nor bunkumistic. It is, so to speak, an address in words of one syllable, about the theatre, to an audience whose interest and experience must necessarily be youthful, cornpared with my own old age in the subject. It is, besides, a heart to heart and hand to hand talk, by a mall, who at least loves both the theatre and the public, and spends most of his time, his strength, and his enthusiasm in doing the best that he can for them. I've never vet met any one who dreamed their brains were too small to adequately and com- xv xvi THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC pletely discuss the theatre, but I've met a great many persons who thought their brains were too big. I don't remember ever having met any- one entirely ignorant of the theatre, w ho hesi- tated one moment to walk right in and criticise whole-heartedly, where an educated arch-angel of the drama would perhaps have side-stepped mentally, and felt his way. Nothing is so good for the drama as intelligent and useful discussion of the theatre. But un- fortunately there is on the one hand too much ignorant, or misinformed, or impracticable dis- cussion, too much bunkum "press work," adver- tising lies, printed and repeated and accepted as true propaganda by amateurs of the drama; and on the other hand there is often a too ideal- istic or a too iconoclastic point of view by these same sincere and best meaning amateurs, I Oladly own. It is difficult to strike a golden mean. In-tellectual discussion of the theatre is too oftln. - I don't say always, mind you, but too oten, - inclined toward a too narrow and too individualistic point of view - when not actu- ally influenced by ignorance as to the conditions, or unwittingly deceived by false information or flamboyant advertisement. The theatre in America cannot be rightly discussed from any one individual point of view; but only on the THE PLA 1 AN'D THE PUBLIC broadest basis and from a universal point of view-perhaps a composite one. For the composition of the audience must be remembered: how it represents every grade of intelligence and it is only by an appeal to the emotions com- mon with all human nature that this naturally unwieldy body is moulded into one great sound- ing-board. The emotions of this body are the traps by which we try to take their minds. It is absolutely necessary for the theatre that the public take a sane and sensible view of the theatre's province - I should say prozvinces! And, in attempting to define its limitations, the public must recognize its own unlimited area of opinion. By this I mean it is more than non- sense to say that the theatre should do one thing- because it should dlo MANY: Individual bodies and individual men lay down the law, ignoring the other individual bodies even at their. elbows. And this is another of the reasons for much useless discussion about the theatre. There are girls and boys in the same family, and blondes and brunettes; and in the theatre as a whole there are plays to amuse and plays to instruct, -say a girl tragedy and a bov comedv! A blonde to entertain and a brunette to interest, and a so-called " musical" concoction by way of a red-headed progeny! xvii xviii THE PLA Y A ND THE PUBLIC But it is the duty of one and all of these plays to be honestly and clearly what they pretend to be. And if each one is this, then it is the duty of their audiences to accept each one for what it is, to criticise it where it fails by being untrue to its own pretensions, but not to criticise it for not being what, perhaps, they wish it were, but what it never pretended to be. I have heard of people who went to see a fine tragedy and came away saying they hadn't been particularly amused I And I have known other people who went to a gay little comedy, meant only to tickle the mind, and who came away saying the play had no serious depth! I knew a literary man who, when living, was a real figurehead in the more intelligent life of New York, and he said to me once: "I never go to the theatre because there's nothing fit to see." "How long is it since you've been" I said. He answered "Twenty years!" "Then how do you know" I naturally replied. The public must go to the theatre and CREATE its own demand, and not only as a matter of its own pleasure, but as a matter'of social duty. For depend upon it, if the good public doesn't go, the bad will, and does! I think it is more or less of an economic law that the demand creates the supply, and no amount of supply creates its own demand! Ever since THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC the beginning of civilization, the theatre has been the one great popular form of entertainment and of relaxation. It has changed in form and in kind, but so has its public, and we may take it for granted that the demand has had something to do with the supply. How many people, I wonder, realize the enormous power of the thea- tre! As a well-known, very much liked, high and broad-minded clergyman in New York said from his pulpit a few years ago: "Eight times a week the theatres get a congregation, two, three and four times as large as I can get once or twice a week; and think what an opportunity to move the better emotions of people, stir their deeper instincts, leaving out altogether the heartsease, and the rest, of good, healthy enter- tainment." As a matter of fact, a list of what the theatre can do would be almost endless. It can breed patriotism! It can inculcate the love of truth! It can show the disaster inevita- ble which follows the breaking of the law: moral and civic. It can train the mind to choose the victory of doing the right thing at any sacrifice ! It can teach the ethics of life, little and big, by example, which is better for the careless multitude than by precept. It can and it does do these things. And it can do much that is less heroic and yet fully as useful. It does not belittle the theatre xix xx THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC to say it can send an audience away comforted and refreshed, and this by an appeal to all its better instincts and emotions; nor is it a thing not to be grateful for, that the theatre husbands our twentieth century endangered ideals. It gives to the humblest and the highest of us that touch of romance which, after all, human nature loves, but for which there is little time or oppor- tunity for most of us in the rapid-fire existence and more material life of to-day. But when all is said and done, I repeat, just how great a power the theatre may become is primarily in the hands of the public. It holds in its hands the remedy, the reward, or the punishment. It can come or it can stay away. Those who have the highest interest of the drama in their hearts can offer the best and the truest in them - from grave to gay, from sublime to ridiculous; but if the public allows itself to be ruled by that untamed faction which demands the vulgar, is satisfied with the puerile, or riots in the licentious, then it will probably get what this faction wants, and some of us will retire with our sincere, if practical ideals, to the closet and the bookshelf. Of the theatre, the public is the true censor, and the final critic. There are two principal divisions of all plays - the Good Play and the Bad Play. Then these THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC divisions are divided into two again - the Bad Play that draws and the Good Play that does not. Then there are countless subdivisions, and the divisions "on the side." Then by itself, in lonely grandeur, stands the Play That Is Too Good For The Public. Don't you believe it! The Play That Is Too Good For The Public is making the woman's excuse of "Because." The true Big Play makes the universal appeal to the plush minds downstairs and the unuphol- stered hearts in the gallery. The intellectual play can be good in its kind, - so can the melo- drama; you pay your money and you take your choice -unless you are a deadhead. A dead- head, as perhaps you know, is a person who does not pay, but is admitted free. The professional deadhead has, naturally, therefore, no point of view. He sees only the plays that are not good enough to attract whole paying audiences by themselves. I have heard of one honest, unprej- udiced, fair-minded deadhead who, after sitting quietly through two very bad acts of a play, himself silent in face of the jeers and sneers of his fellow-audience, finally, in the second entr'act, went out and bought a ticket and his freedom, so that he might hoot and condemn the third act to his heart's content. Alas, the poor dead- head! He is the life-line thrown to a play drown- LXi nil THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC ing in a flood of public abuse! -the stomach pump used on a play poisoned by the critics! - the stimulant given a play frozen by the public cold shoulder; and sometimes - the medicine does save a life that's worth while. To return to the play; the great play, of course, is the one that appeals to both the mind and the heart. Certain great men have done this. Cer- tain other great men have done half; then their appeal is halved. They satisfy the intellectual on the one side and the rest on the other. Shake- speare did it all - Moliere almost - certain Germans a great deal. Goethe, Schiller, and, later, Hauptmann and Sudermann for instance. To-day, Ibsen, with his wonderful fundamental ideas. pleases the intellectual crowd, bores the romanticists, and angers the beauty lovers. Maeterlinck drugs the senses, and delights the mind, and puzzles the popular opinion, and out- rages the conventional attitude. Hauptmann and Sudermann satisfy and stimulate the intelli- gence, and pretty generally put a cogwheel in the box-office-where the tickets are printed in English. All these are, of course, the boldest, the best known examples and instances, and I am using them for that very reason, because I take the fact for granted that I am not speaking to people, the majority of whom have made any THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC very serious and exhaustive study of the present conditions of the Drama. I am also speaking of these plays in relation to our own general audience - not any special one, of either extreme, - but the typical group of people we find in any or all of our large cities; people who as a whole go to a serious, intellectual, much discussed play, once, perhaps, because it is discussed - and who like it, or those who don't, and wish it thought that they like it, or else at least wish to join in the discussion, -and then go to a successful musical comedy twice, to have, as they say, a really good time! Besides this regulation mainstay audience, there are two others: the small eclectic com- pany, who, as I have already said, are not to be depended upon. They cry out that the theatre is no longer any good, and, staying away, take their own word for it! They demand literature in the theatre, at all cost, ignoring the fact that the first requisite of a play is that it be some form of drama. For instance, at two different times such a group of people secured backing and started in New York a series of performances which should be literary plays. They secured comedies and dramas from amiable short story writers of deserved repute. They went to the monthly magazines and the publishers for their xxiii nhiv THE PLA Y AND THE PUBLIC popular authors, to give them their material. Why I really don't know. Both series failed, I am honestly sorry to say, and the cause of a truly artistic and literary theatre was immensely damaged. "If these plays are literature," cried the bored public, "deliver us! !" In the first and most solidly backed venture of the two, which began with a really fine, serious audience by subscription, out of the seven performances of long and short plays, with one exception the short ones were too long, and the long ones not nearly short enough, - and the only play which they produced that lasted and lived as a play was by a professional playwright. I am not holding a high tariff plea for my profession - we have notable instances of literary men who are real dramatists. Take Barrie for instance. But many more dramatists write plays that have value as dramatic literature, than do literary men write plays that are good drama. This same audience has often for its war-cry, "Give the intelligent public which has been driven from the theatre a mental allurement, and they winl flock to the standard." I wonder! Bernard Shaw was originally put forward as literature. His first play, "Candida", had to fight for its life through weary, unheeded weeks, till Fashion, hunting about during Lent for some penance to THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC do, took it up, and the general public followed. Then Bernard Shaw reigned as a "fad" for a season. We all thought then the success was sincere, but, the next Autumn, "Man and SiLper- man" was produced to one of the smaller open- ing- audiences of the theatre-crowded month of October in New York. It was the general public, who, finding the play entertaining, took hold the second and third weeks, and made of that comedy a tremendous success. While it was the notorious Mrs. Warren, with her profes- sion, who drew the first big premi&e audience for Shaw, which fact speaks wonders all around, as well as the incident of the lady who went to buy a ticket for a later Shaw production, "Cashel Byron's Profession" -Cashel being a pugilist - but when told at the box-office in answer to her query that "Cashel Byron's Profession" was not the same as Mrs. Warren's, demanded her money back and left without buying. There 'is still another audience, an audience that seems to come from the bowels of the earth. It is only a certain kind of play that brings these people forth. They pack the theatres where "The Christian" played. They flocked in un- accountable numbers to "The Little Minister." They took orthodox delight in "The Shepherd King." They are still the loyal adherents of XXV Xxvi THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC "Way Down East" and "Ben Hur." They swell to uncountable numbers the audiences of "The Servant in the House," and are the main- stay of the Ben Greet Players. One wonders where they come from, and where they go to. It is a long-distance trolley audience. They are a class of people who do not habitually go to the playhouse; they are the old-time lyceum lec- ture bureau audiences. They search for ser- mons in dramatic stones. It is a fact that a couple of this ilk, who went to the Knickerbocker Theatre when "The Christian " was playing there, in handing their tickets to the usher, absentmindedly asked where their pew was! And, when another play had followed at this same theatre, a man demanded at the box-office two tickets for "The Christian." "But it isn't playing here now," said the ticket seller. "Where is it" he was asked. "In Newark." "Well, give me two tickets for there!" The typical general audience, such as I have spoken of, leavened with a little of every class and kind, is the one that the manager dearly loves. They pay for their tickets and demand only a just return. It is a composite gathering, difficult to please from all points of view; a gathering anxious to be amused, satisfied to be interested, willing to be moved, but absolutely THE PLAY AND TIHE PUBLIC intolerant of being bored. I think it would rather, in the bulk, be entertained by a worthy medium than an unworthy, and it stops to dif- ferentiate just about that much. At any rate, it is sincere, this audience, which is more than I can say for some of its managers, actors, ac- tresses, and authors. It says frankly, in effect, that it wants to be entertained, interested; if in an artistic way, so much the better - as wit- ness the great triumph generally of good plays artistically done. But it will not be bored by "art for art's sake," if that art is bunkum and really talk about art for business' sake! This audience is, to use a slang term, "fly." Moreover, it does not pretend it is the only or the ideal audience. It openly confesses there is the big intellectual play for some, but not for all of it. It only asks for itself to choose what it wants. In return it gives you an honest medium to work upon, generous in its approval and applause, when it gets what it wants. After all, this audience has the right to demand respect and consideration. It has a good dis- position, and it doesn't really mind being taught something, either, so long as you sneak in your lesson. Don't let it know what it is taking till the lesson is down, remembering always that the theatre in our day is principally to entertain. XXVII xxviii THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC To instruct, we have our universities and schools, our lectures, -even hospitals, clinics, and insane asylums -for certain branches of dramatic in- struction. And we must remember, in comparing the modern stage with the old, that in the old days the theatres were the public libraries, but in our time the Carnegies attend to that! You know it is not only in America that this general audience rules. In London, it is even more pleasure-loving; for every one theatre where "prose drama" is given, there have often been five playhouses where the Tune and the Girl reign in successful revolution. A few years ago Sir Henry Irving, who did more for the artistic development and adornment of the drama, and more for the popularizing of Shakespeare, than any other Englishman living to-day-a few years ago, Sir Henry Irving found the noble, splendid following which had encouraged him and supported him in his work in London, lagging behind, drifting away, dwin- dling down. And to-day, the famous Lyceum Theatre, where he reached his zenith and crowned his career, after a few years as a variety hall, is housing cheap melodrama, while Irving, during the later years of his life, played short engage- ments in London, and not even every year. France has much the same story to tell, the same THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC nix complaint to make, as to the public taste. In Paris, Antoine, who had made a reputation for himself in his little theatre, has made a failure in his management of the large Od6on, the second subsidized theatre of France, producing plays which he thought would succeed from the literary or artistic ground of appeal. Jeanne Granier, with Lavallaire, and even Pollaire (only several years ago a music-hall star), and the theatres of the Boulevard draw the real crowds. R6jane, with her positive genius, having passed through a period of immense popularity in tart, satirical comedies of life of the demimonde, and comedies of the demi without the monde of late, in more serious plays has found it impossible to stay out a season in Paris. Sarah Bernhardt, supreme artist even in her golden age, in her home thea- tre has had to depend largely upon foreigners and provincials to make her audiences worth while; and to meet the expenses of the Th6Atre Sarah Bernhardt, she voyages to far countries where French is little understood and less spoken ' She has within the last two years produced at least three literary failures, including "Sister Th6rese" by Catulle Mendes, one of France's best known poets. To be sure, new actresses are taking new places in popularity -notably Madame le Bargy, for whom most of Bernstein's m THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC women roles have been written, but she is a neu- rotic type of actress, of extraordinary talent, - still a success above all else of individuality, of something different, something biting to the jaded palate. It is an indisputable fact that the classics at the two state theatres of France draw their largest audiences on fete days when the public is admitted freel The Frangaise of late years has even "hustled" to add to its repertoire amusing, satirical pieces; several seasons ago giving one comedy which was accused by the critics of being almost a musical comedy. I mention these French and English instances to show that those of us here who love the more serious theatre must not feel that we are so much worse off than Paris or London, so far as the temper and disposition of our audiences are con- cerned. In Germany and in Austria it is differ- ent. There they have a big, serious-minded audience which goes to the play at seven o'clock, with a rested stomach and a free mind. And in Germany they do keep alive the fine plays, and create a living repertoire of great ones. But we are not Germans. It is almost impos- sible to get us into the theatre before half past eight. Our minds are preoccupied-and so very generally is that other portion of us; the serious task of the theatre is doubled with us. I THE PLAY A ND THE PUBLIC have heard men complain, metaphorically speak- ing, that we did not have pepsin in our plays. And still, all the same, because, perhaps at the present time more people prefer amusement to serious entertainment, it is no excuse for the futile cry which is constantly being raised that the stage isn't what it used to be. It you take the trouble to search, you will find that cry has always been raised in every age! It was always the Banshee of the Drama! Each period has its fluctuations in taste - each period has its detractors. But in spite of all, the Drama has lived and prospered down and up the centuries! Do not misunderstand me. I do not in the least mean that I am satisfied with the conditions either as to the Play or the Public. It is almost too obvious to say when any worker is satisfied his work is over. He is finished! He is an objet d'art of the Drama! A museum number in the theatre! He is done for! He had better go to the Dramatist's coat-room and hand in his check ! What I mean is that I think it is fair and better to take an optimistic rather than a pessi- mistic view of the situation. I mean the theatre is not in a bad way; it is on a good way! Fifteen years ago there were only two American dramatists wviting American plays with any dis- Xxxi xdi THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC tinction. To-day there are at least six times as many, worthy of dignified consideration and serious criticism, and at the same time successful. I think that speaks for itself and is sufficient cause for my optimism. It is in less time that our universities and colleges have taken up the serious study of the theatre, including its modern literature; and in less time still that clubs and societies with more or less intellectual aims are giving serious consideration to our subject, such as was unheard of a Play Baker's dozen years ago! I do not say the theatre's task is not difficult, - almost the most difficult I can conceive; but at the same time I am not sure that fact is not in itself the best thing for the theatre. The easy thing to do is seldom the thing worth while. It is the difficult thing, done so well as to make it seem easy of accomplishment, that deserves the real reward. Exercise and struggle are as good for the Drama as for man. As to a National Theatre, I cannot imagine how there can be any discussion about the value of a playhouse whose aim is to do for the public, what, in the present absence of this theatre, I am begging them to do for themselves. A theatre whose work it would be to bring out and foster the best the Drama is capable of, would THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC xxxiii be the most splendid, practical and not merely ideal thing, that could be done for the American stage. There can't be any honest or sincere argument about it. BUT there is the question of who will direct the fortunes of this theatre; who will design its record, and by whom will that record be made! There is a new plan now on foot in New York, actually matured and under way, with men at its head who can command our intelligent ad- herence to their idea, and inspire us with hope for its realization. That is the best help we can give them. The scheme is the surest we have had yet, and not for the least reason because it is practical. That much is up to them, and I myself am for them, and full of hope for their success, in spite of the enormous practical diffi- culties which I think they only half foresee; but, granted they succeed in starting, then, after all, it is still up to the Public. Yes, as the old- fashioned writers used to say -"Dear Public, it is up to you! If the New Theatre gives those among you who are discontented what you want, will you go and be content If there are not enough of you to make it pay, will you proselyte for the building, and help fill the orchestra seats at two dollars per with your friends " For, believe me, the Germans would not give their zniv THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC audiences psychological discussions without ac- tion, nor the French their public the long ethical themes, divided into conversational acts; but that each public wants what is given it, and pays for it. A millionaire's pocket, unfortunately, generous as it is in our country, lacks one splendid quality, that which was possessed by the poor widow's cruse. To prove the really great play, there is no test except time. For great plays may have faults which at first blind us to their greater merit. It is their faults that make great men human, and why shouldn't it work so with plays No man can say -true, some do! -this play will last, that will not, - for the power of proph- ecy went out with the days of the sibylline leaves. And the price our journals pay for know- ing the news of the moment is the news of the future. The plays that have LASTED are valuable to us as literature and as documents. Technique never has kept a play alive through the centuries. Technique alone is machinery, and we improve all machinery year by year. Outside of their literature, outside of their history, imaginative and not scientific, many of Shakespeare's plays are documents of hourly life and manners; and if you are interested in knowing what life was THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC in town and country before and during the Refor- mation, read Wycherley, Congreve, Beaumont and Fletcher. You will find there the small human document you won't get out of history per se. So Sheridan and Goldsmith reproduced the social Georgian era, Wilde the late Victorian; and in France Lavedan, Hervieu and Capus and Bernstein are giving the Paris and France of the twentieth century for future generations to repro- duce for themselves, if they wish. And the public in America is making that same demand of us. Give us our own life, they are saying in general. We get enough lords and ladies, perfect and imperfect, from England. Give us a man and woman of our own. Ger- man provincial life doesn't interest us. See how we welcome and take to our hearts any true reflection of our native country existence. France has played us every tune on her social triangle, till husband and wife and friend have become the barrel-organ of our drama. Show us our own social predicament, and see how we will welcome it. We have troubles of our own, they say. Play us that tune and we will whistle it quickly into popularity. And in the last few years the men who are writing in our country, still digging up the dramatic soil, still laying foundations for the national drama, have re- X3CV mLvi THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC sponded, and with so much zeal, so much enthusi- asm, so much truth, that to-day, in eight cases out of ten, it is the play of our own life that, each year, takes its strongest hold on the public. In the modern play, I feel myself very strongly the particular value - a value I can't help feel- ing inestimable - of reflecting absolutely and truthfully the life and environment about us. Be truthful, and then nothing can be too big, nothing should be too small, so long as it is here, and there. Every class, every kind, every emotion, every motive, every occupation, every business, every idleness! Never was life so varied, so complex; what a choice of material then! Take what strikes you most, in the hope that it will interest others. Take what suits you most to do -what perhaps you can do best - and then do it better. Apart from the question of literature, apart from the ques- tion of art, reflect the real thing with true obser- vation and with sincere feeling for what it is and what it represents, and that is art and liter- ature. A play which depicts modern life to-day should be written in the simplest language, with the clippings and cuttings of words habitually made; even perhaps grammatical errors, for only as it truthfully represents modern language can a play of everyday modern life become liter- THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC xxxvii ature. In every art, in every profession to-day, the highest standard is truth, and nowhere more surely so than in the Drama -where imagina- tion is truth's ally, not her rival. If you inculcate an idea in your play, so much the better for your play -and for you -and for your audience. In fact, there is small hope for your play, as a PLAY, if you haven't some small idea in it, somewhere and somehow, even if it is hidden-otherwise your play becomes only an entertainment, and nothing beside. But the idea must, of course, be integral. Some ideas are mechanical. They are no good. These are the ideas for which the author does all the work, instead of letting the ideas do the work for him. One should write what one sees; but observe under the surface. It is a mistake to look at the reflection of the sky in the water of theatrical convention. Instead, look up and into the sky of real life itself. Of course one can do all this and still have no play. There must, first and last and in the middle, always be the PLAY. That is what the writer who has not his technique misses. The other thing, on the other hand, is so often missed by the technician. The greatest example to-day of the technician and the idea-ist, working to- gether, was Ibsen. But that doesn't mean xmviii THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC Ibsen is a great popular dramatist. He is both with the elect, but not with the general body, because of the other thing he lacked. Wilde was not flawless in his technique, but each play has its inherent idea, and each reflects abso- lutely in matter and manner that modern social life it represents. Bernard Shaw - well, Bernard Shaw speaks for himself, and PREFERS TO! Pinero has proved himself a master of technique, and so has Henry Arthur Jones, and both men love a play with an idea. Both have, however, been more or less unlucky of late in choosing too often ideas which they liked themselves, but for which the public very frankly did not care, or in which they refused to be interested. This is one thing a dramatic author has to look out for. He is apt sometimes to become selfish and think only of his own pleasure. Of all the arts and professions, there is none which more strongly demands unselfishness of its followers. The painter may paint a picture which delights himself, and keep it, and have joy in it; it is finished, complete. But there is no such joy for the dramatist who can keep his play! For without production it is incomplete, unfinished - a lifeless thing - still-born; it can never be a joy to him. But to go on with our authors, no one of the dramatists at the present moment THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC is getting the essence of his environment in thought, word and deed, more than Hervieu, Lavedan, Donnay and Capus, in France. Her- vieu with an idea for the basic principle - the idea serious; Lavedan and Donnay, the idea social; Capus, all sorts of ideas together! - any old idea! - so long as it is always life - especially the life superficial, with the under- current really kept under. Bernstein stands apart from this group; he is the twentieth cen- tury Sardou; that is, he adds to masterly tech- nique a psychological influence in the develop- ment of his plot. Mind you, a successful play can be built which is false to life, misrepresenting it, maliciously or through ignorance. But it will not be literature and it will not be art - poor, bedraggled word! It has begun almost to take on the shoddy hues of the word " lady. " " Lady " we have replaced with " woman ", but our language is not rich enough to give us a word or a phrase even to use instead of much- abused "art." She has become the boarding- house keeper of our vocabulary, who has seen better days. The term "melodrama" is another sufferer. It has become the personification of the poor, misunderstood person. A mistaken idea pre- vails, thanks to a too narrow view of the subject Xxxix xi THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC in defining what is true melodrama. The term, centuries ago, and not so long ago as that, was applied to a play of violent emotions, as much as violent actions, and was a technical term imply- ing neither blame nor belittlement. To-day it is applied ignorantly as a term of reproach, to plays of violent emotion, and of belittlement to plays of violent action. If "Macbeth" had been produced yesterday, the bloody fingers of his noble but over-ambitious lady would have traced the word "melodrama" all over the criti- cisms of the play in this morning's papers. And I dread to think what would have been said of " Hamlet." But I can see in my mind's eye some such headlines, "The New Play-Barring too much talk - thanks to a hero who ought to have been in the Utica Asylum, and a bunch of murderers in the last act, - makes a bully Bowery melodrama." And let me give you an example of the dif- ference between real melodrama and the false. A business man of good position gets hopelessly lost in financial difficulties, and shoots himself. On the cheap stage, everybody rushes on and shouts and screams, the persecuted hero or heroine gets arrested for murder, and the cur- tain falls. In real life, and on the true stage, the last loud sound is that of the pistol shot. THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC The family choke back their cries, and even the servants softly obey whispered orders to close the house and keep out all intruders. It is the absence of the "My Gawds!" and the noisy complications of the "butting in" actors, the non-beating of the theatrical drum, that mark the difference between bathos, crude dramatic emotion, and the real thing. This latter instance is melodrama in the old meaning of the word, but does not deserve the sneer of to-day's inter- pretation of the term. The incidents, the events of everyday life in a big city are more melo- dramatic than anything that was ever put upon the stage, but they do not occur with a crescendo accompaniment! They do not have "curtains." There is scarcely a family of importance in any big city that Tragedy has not in some way laid its compelling hand upon, and still the members of the family do not shriek to high heaven when the crisis occurs. On the contrary, they act like human beings; and it is just that same dif- ference which exists between true melodrama of the stage and the cheaper kind. The former is not to be despised, but to be honored. Remem- ber, it is picturing your life of to-day, just as surely as is the quieter domestic drama, and the comedy of character and manners. One can- not live twenty-four hours in any of our cities xli xlii THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC without seeing vivid pictures of misery and happi- ness, vice and virtue, crime and innocence, pov- erty and wealth, in sharpest, loudest contrast, - a daily life which is blood and iron mixed with soul and sentiment - melodrama of the ancients, pure and simple. " Realism" is still another sufferer. With two- thirds of the general public, "realism" means something ugly, or horrible, or puerile. A beautiful thing may be portrayed realistically, as well as a brutal thing. Realism is only sim- plicity and truth. The great effort in the theatre is to create an illusion, both as to practical scenes and as to story. Realism in the emotions of the play and in the paraphernalia of the scenes is the greatest adjunct to both. The one great gif t so far of the modern stage is realism, to make up to us for some of the poetry and imag- ination of which it has robbed us. And yet realism is not opposed to poetry and imagina- tion. Because some people have disliked some form of realism, they have rejected the whole. Because you may not take particular pleasure in seeing an Italian lady in a fit, is no reason to decry seeing some exquisite and deep emotion expressed so realistically as to arouse an echo sweet, for its own sake, in your own soul! As a matter of fact, it is the public themselves, THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC whether they like it or not, who have created the demand for realism. The audience of to-day knows a great deal. I am not sure it does not know too much. It is not easily deceived nor easily convinced. It does not go to the theatre like the child who delightedly starts to play with " let's pretend " - not at all! It keeps out of the game, and watches others "pretend," never crossing the footlights itself; but from its own vantage ground, criticizes even with its own emo- tions. It says "Convince us if you can!" and " We dare you to move us! " And it is only when we start out boldly and "take" their dare hon- estly, by first convincing ourselves, that we win success. One way that a dramatist convinces himself is by letting the characters write his plays for him! It is a positive fact with me, at least, that once I have got my characters created, they must and will follow their own bent, and mould the action of the play. If the reverse were true, and the action moulded the characters, the play is claptrap, machine-made, artificial. Balzac said real characters in a play or a novel were not myths. He said all his characters were realities. He said that when, in the progress of his " Com6die Humaine", he called into ac- tion some character who had figured in a pre- v ious novel, that character moved about and ,.. Xdv THE PLA Y AND THE PUBLIC followed his own inclinations in his new environ- ment, precisely as if it were a living being and without any effort whatever, whether of memory or of invention, on the part of his creator. I know by experience one may have serious diffi- culties with one's characters. Sometimes they will not do in the second act, or in the third act, what was planned for them and expected of them while writing the first. Once a character is clearly created, once it becomes a fixed entity, it dominates you and your plan, and must be allowed its own way. It must be consistent. In my plays I endeavor that the action shall develop from inward outward. The develop- ment is the natural result, as far as my equip- ment can make it so, of the impulses which lie in the hearts and minds of the characters as they have been conceived. For those who wish to place life as they find it and see it on the stage, the great practical power, a necessity, is the faculty of observation. But this power alone makes photography. The pal- ette and brush are tools of a higher art than the Kodak. And it is the power of Imagination which makes the difference - which scales the heights. So it is with playwriting. Observa- tion will press the button and Imagination will do the rest. THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC Of course every writer of novels or of plays works in his own way. I do not believe that any writer of value can work in any other man's way, or according to any other formula or method than his own. The mental process is too com- plex and hereditary; individuality and indi- vidual experience play too large a part. Dumas fils prefaced nearly every one of his plays in the published edition with an elaborate foreword telling how he had written it, and discussing the artistic and social questions to which it gave rise. Many other authors and playwrights, in printed interviews or books, have tried to show the mental machinery of their invention. These personal confessions, or revelations, are possibly more interesting than instructive. They are like the "experiences" related on the front bench of a revival meeting, each of which is so different from its fellow experience, and creates interest accordingly. But if their value is autobio- graphical rather than educational, they still establish the principle that each man reaches success in his profession, or salvation in religion, in his own particular way. And the play's moral! It should grow out of the play's theme. The moral should never be pasted on like a label. No author should dogmatically preach; the artist is the man who X1V x1vi THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC suggests to those who have ears to hear and eyes with which to see. The moral should not be the cause of the play; it should be the result of the play. I hope my distinction is plain to you, because I think in it lies the whole question of the morality of the stage. No severer test should be applied to the theatre than to the library. We have the Press inter- ested in the theatre, and it is a fair and popular guide. The Press chaperones and protects the "young person." Certain subjects, certain things are not tolerated in any decent society, and the stage is a part of that society; but to condemn a play because bad people appear in it, to condemn a play because the subject of immorality is seriously treated in it, is false morality. Does the result of the play sicken and disgust you with the wrong thing, frighten you with the inevitable result of breaking the laws or the command- ments If it does, it is a moral play, even though it may not be an ideal vade mecum for the matin6e girl. Personally I love the matinde girl! She believes in youthful love, ideals, self-sacrifices, and I want to. She believes in romance in real life -I want to. And she is no fool. She is quick with her ridicule, ever ready with her dis- cernment of what is true and what is stage pre- tense. But granting all her charms and hei THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC intelligence, I still do not think she should rule the playhouse. As a matter of fact, she is grow- ing to be an obsolete character! Conditions are such that it is more often mother and father who go to the matin6e now; she goes in the even- ing ! For my part, I believe the true moral of the theatre consists in this: that the audience shall get from a play the mental and moral "lift up", instead of the " let down. " And to this end, not only theme and plot, but also character creation plays a strong part. By that strange law which makes one note in the piano sing in response to a vibrating tuning fork many feet away, the hearts of the audience vibrate in unison with the vibrating hearts across the footlights. The sweeter and truer and more exalted the note struck upon the stage, the more readily does the audience respond. This is the great force exer- cised by fiction in which the drama shares. And to arouse these feelings in an audience, even for a short period, has, I believe, a better, more practical, more salutary effect upon them as men and women, than can be obtained by any philosophic appeal made to their intellects in the cut and dried form of a presented theme or moral. It is a goal worth striving for. To tell a story which shall stir the deeper emo- xlvii xlviii THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC tions, stimulate the intellect, and tend to ennoble the mind is a higher goal still. And as to " Art ", there have been many definitions, but the un- theatrical Wordsworth said: "That is good art which makes the beholder wiser, better or happier." This may be regarded as a somewhat vague definition for the theatre, but is it not good enough for all of us to go on with CONTENTS PREFATORY NOTE THE PLAY AND THE PUBLIC. FITCH . THE WOMAN IN THE CASE THIE TRUTH . . THE CITY. . . PAGE V AN ESSAY BY CLYDE xv . . . X . 197 443 This page in the original text is blank. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE A PLAY Ig FOUR ACTS COPYRIGHT, 191 5, BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY, AND ALICE M. FITCH. This play is fully protected by the copyright law, all requirements of which have been complied with. In its present printed form it is dedicated to the reading public only, and no performance of it, either professional or amate r, may be given without the written permission of the owner of the acting rights, who may be addressed in care of the publishers, Little, Brown, and Company. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE ACT I. AT THE ROLFES'. "I love you, first, last and always. You represent life in this world to me." ACT II. VISITORs' Roro- IN THE TotMBS. 7 tree WVeeks La/er-. "My faith in him is more than human; it comes from my soul, -and you know in our soul lives w hatever there is of divine in us. ACT III. AN APARTMENT IN WN'ESI 521) SItRE1T. Two Afon/As Later. Will you inen never understand ohat a woman can undergo for the man she loves ! Men endure physical torture for our sakes, which our bodies refuse to support; but we make it up in what we can endure mentally and spiritually for you." ACT IV. AT THE ROLFES'. One IVeek Later. PLACE. NEW YORK CITY. TIME. THE PRESENT. This page in the original text is blank. THE PERSONS IN THE PLA Y MARGARET ROLFE. MRS. HUCGIES. Ifer mother. CLAIRE FoRSTER. ELSIF BREWSTER. DORA MILLER. LOUISE MANE. MAID. JULIAN ROLFE. TOMPSON. JImNMY O'NEILL. Louis KLAUFFSKY. WALTERS. Servant to the Rolfes. INSPECTOR WILLIAMS. ATT-ENDANT. POLICEMAN. This page in the original text is blank. Produced on January 30, 1905, at the Herald Square 'Theatre cast: Margaret Rolfe Mrs. Hughes Claire Forster Elsie Brewster Dora Mliller Louise Mane Maid. Julian RIolfe Tompson Jimmy O'Neill Louis Klauffsky Walters . Inspector Williams Attendant Policeman I New York, with the following ... . . . . . Blanche WNalsh . . . . . . . . . Eleanor Carey .Dorothy Dorr . . .. .. . . .Kathryn Keyes I Helen Ware Florence St. Leonard Ethlyn Clemens ... . . . . . Robert Drouet George Fawcett Forster Lardner . . . . . . . Samuel Edwards ..... ..........William Wadsworth . William Travers ... .. . . ('harles Macdonald . ... , . . . . V. H. Wright This page in the original text is blank. Produced at the Garrick Theatre, London, on June 2, i909, with the following cast: Margaret Rolfe . . . . . . . . . . . Grace Lane Mrs. Hughes . . . . . . . . . . Kate Serjeantson Claire Forster.. . . . . . . . . Violet Vanbrugh Elsie Brewster . . . . . . . . . . . Eva Killick Dora Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . Enid Sass Louise Mane . . . . . . . . . . . Sybil Grey Julian Rolfe. . . . . . . . . . . Herbert Sleath Tompson . . . . . . . . . . . Charles V. France Jimmy O'Neill . . . . . . . . . . Frank Ten nant Louis Klauffsky. . . . . . . . . . . E. Dagnall Walters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cecil Yapp Inspector Williams. . . . . . . . . . Henry Hare Attendant, Policeman, Maid. The play was produced by Mr. Allan Aynesworth. This page in the original text is blank. ACT I SCENE: At the Rolfes'. A very charming draw- ing-room in a New York apartment, at the end of dinner. JULIAN ROLFE, a handsome man of thirty-four, enters, and holds the door open for three ladies to pass into the draw-ing-room from the dining room, - DORA, LouIsE, and ELSIE, - young, pretty, and very smartly dressed. They were the brides- maids at his wedding three months before the opening of the play. JULIAN. Make the most of your freedom. I warn you, we men won't keep away very long. DORA. [Sitting on the sofa.] See that you don't! Remember we are leaving very early, II 1 2 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE because you are really an invalid, and shouldn't keep late hours. JULIAN. Nonsense ! I'm well enough, now! Why, I hope to go out to-morrow. LOUISE. [Sitting on the sofa beside DORA.] That's all very well, but you -a man who's had pneumonia and hasn't been out yet! The truth is, we ought all to have regretted this party. JULIAN. Then neither Margaret nor I would ever have forgiven you. And the next time we got married, we'd have engaged an entirely new set of bridesmaids! [They all laugh. ELSIE. When Margaret comes back, send her in to us, won't you Don't you men keep her with you. JULIAN. I promise to deny ourselves for your sakes, if she gives me the chance; but she will THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 13 probably join you here herself, when she finishes with this newspaper man. ELSIE. What a thing it is to get married and be interviewed by the papers! JULIAN. Oh, but we're an old married couple, now. DORA. [Laughing.] Three months! ELSIE. I consider you still in the tunnel - us-two-alone-away-from-evrerybody" period. JULIAN. [Laughing.] Nonsense! [Starts to go. DORA. Tell the men not to forget that we must leave here at nine-thirty, in any case. You know, we're rehearsing a minuet for Mrs. War- ner's fancy dress ball. LOUISE. Wish you and Margaret could come. JULIAN. I'm afraid we can't! Our fancy dress just now must be Darby and Joan! 14 THE WOIAN IN THE CASE [WALTERS enters at Right with coffee, and passes it. All take it, except ELSIE. JULIAN. Well, excuse me. [Goes out. LOUISE. He looks pretty well for a man who's been so fearfully ill. DORA. Yes. You know, poor Margaret says they never thought they would save him. LOUISE. He'll have to be careful for a long time, won't he DORA. Rather! A relapse would be a very dangerous thing! LouISE. What in the world can a reporter want of her all this time ELSIE. [Beginning to drum popular songs on the piano.] And just at dinner! I wonder! LOUISE. Shall I take a cup for her DORA. I would. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I5 [LOUISE puts aside a cup of coffee for MAR- GARET. DoRA. What a nice idea to have a brides- maids' dinner all over again-after the fatal deed is done! ELSIE. Yes; it sort of stamps the thing a success! LOUISE. My dear, I don't think I ever knew a happier marriage than Margaret's and Julian's. DoRA. They're so congenial - like the same things. Both are music mad, and they've both a sense of humor. Besides, she's the dearest girl in the world, anyway! LOUISE. [Putting her cup on the table.] And everyone says no one has ever made so many friends in so short a time as Julian has since he came here to live. DORA. How long is it x6 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE LOUISE. Only three or four years. [WALTERS enters with liqueurs, which he passes. DORA. Of course his being a college chum of Philip Long's gave him all Philip's friends at once. He really owed his position here in New York to Philip. LouISE. As a doctor, do you mean DORA. Oh, no! They say he'd already made a name for himself in his profession, in Cincinnati, before he came to New York. I mean socially. ELSIE. [Stops playing.] Didn't you feel aw- fully queer when he proposed the toast to Philip LOUISE. What was it he said I didn't take it in, I was so surprised. DORA. "Let's drink to the memory of one whom I am sure we all miss to-night, and more than I, for one, can say. To the dear memory THE WOMVAN IN THE CASE 17 of my best man, and my best friend, Philip Long!" LouIsE. You know, it's the first time I ever knew any one who was murdered. They always seem to belong to a different class. ELSIE. Yes. You know, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was very smart to get murdered, but nowadays it isn't at all the thing in smart society! LOUISE. My dear Elsie! ELSIE. Yes, that was horrid of me. I'm sorry ! DORA. I am perfectly convinced it was suicide. LOUISE. Lots of people think it would have been much more sensible of the Longs to have let the whole thing die down. DORA. But you know what old Mr. Long's like. Nothing would persuade him to let the i8 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE ignominy of suicide rest on his son's name. He is determined it is murder, and that he'll prove it. ELSIE. Does any one know what Mr. Rolfe thinks [A moment's pause. DORA. We might ask Margaret. LOUISE. No! I hate to talk about it, espe- cially to-night. It'll depress us all! DORA. What a lovely wedding it was, wasn't it ELSIE. Lovely! [Her fingers running into a sentimental ballad on the piano. DORA. But, if you remember, Philip Long was a little distrait. I remember some one joking him about it. LOUISE. How could he have been in love with such an awful creature THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I9 ELSIE. My dear! Don't fly in the face of Providence by questioning why men fall in love with any of us. Be grateful that they do, and let it go at that! [They all laugh. DORA. They say she's pretty-or used to be, - and is very clever and attractive. [ELSIE stops playing. LouIsE. My brother says Philip was always rather weak, and couldn't resist any temptation. If he got with a crowd of men who drank, he always drank too much; and if he got with a crowd who played cards, he gambled too high, and lost. And almost any girl who tried, could do what she liked with him. ELSIE. Mercy! Wish I'd known that! LOUISE. [Laughing.] Elsie! DORA. That was exactly the basis of Mr. 20 THE WOMA N IN THE CA SE Rolfe's and Philip's friendship. He took hold of Phil, and kept him straight. ELSIE. Well, do let's talk of something else, or we'll have an awful evening! DORA. [Insinuatingly.] Suppose we talk about Jimmy O'Neill. ELSIE. Please don't I [She turns to the piano and plays again. DORA. You are not engaged to Jimmy O'Neill. ELSIE. I am not!! DORA. Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself ! ELSIE. Why DORA. Because you carry on disgracefully with him. ELSIE. Oh, well, he's engaged to me, but I am not engaged to him. DORA. Oh, that's a new way to look at it! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 2 1 LOUISE. No two people could see as much of each other as you two, without being bored to death, unless they were in love. ELSIE. We have an intellectual friendship! DORA. Oh, I see! Well, when you are mar- ried, I'll give you a set of encyclopedias for a wedding present. LouISE. And I'll get you a complete edition of the " Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" at Wanamaker's. [All laugh as MARGARET enters. MARGARET. I'm glad you're having such an amusing time! DORA. Elsie says she has an intellectual friendship with Jimmy O'Neill! MARGARET. Well! I've heard it called a good many things, but never that before! [Sit- ting down with them. DORA gets the coffee from 22 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE the table, and offers it to MARGARET.] No, thanks. LOUISE. What did the reporter want, Mar- garet MARGARET. He wanted to know if I'd seen his evening paper, and when I said I hadn't, he wanted me to talk about Philip Long. Of course I wouldn't, but I had the greatest trouble in the world getting rid of him! DORA. My dear, your apartment is too charm- ing for anything! I never knew a young mar- ried couple with so few hideous things! ELSIE. Yes,-where are all your wedding presents MARGARET. In the Chamber of Horrors I ELSIE. How do you mean MARGARET. That's what we call the library, where we've put all the impossible gifts. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 23 DORA. [Leaning over the piano.] Do take us there, and let's see them. ELSIE. [Rising.] If I find minel l MARGARET. Oh, don't worry, yours is in my room. It's a rule that the gifts of guests are always brought out and put somewhere else, when we know they're coming! [They all laugh. ELSIE. Splendid idea! DORA. But suppose some one comes unex- pectedly, and doesn't see their present here, aren't they hurt MARGARET. [Rising.] Oh, no! I take them at once to the library, and show it to them in the room of honor, as it were. Of course I wouldn't hurt any one's feelings for anything, especially any one who had been kind enough to remember me on the happiest day of my life-my wedding-day. 24 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE [WALTERS enters, and announces MR. Towri- SON, a lawyer,-a good-looking man about forty-five years old, who enters. TOMPSON. Good evening, Mrs. Rolfe! I'm afraid I'm rather in the way! [General greeting. MARGARET. Not at all. We're just going up to the library to see my wedding presents; the beautiful lamp you gave me is there; you must come and see it! [The others mark this with secret amusement. ELSIE. [Mischievously.] Is my present there, Margaret MARGARET. [Also mischievously.] No, it usu- ally is, but it was taken out this evening, just before you came, for some reason or other. [All laugh. TOMPSON. What's the joke THE WOMAN I.V THE CASE 25 MARGARET. Oh, nothing! Come along. TOmFSON. No,-would you mind taking the young ladies, and coming back to me for a moment. I just want five minutes with you. MARGARET. Something serious TOMPSON. [Covering the truth.] Oh, no, no! MARGARET. Come, girls. [All going out. ELSIE. [Turning back.] We'll tell you just how your lamp looks when we come back, Mr. Tompson! TOMTPSON. Thanks. [He rings an electric bell by the mantel. MARGARET. I'll be back in a moment. [They go out. [ToMPsON goes to the lamp, takes out an even- ing paper, and reads it. He is evidently nervous and worried. Enter WALTERS at Right. 26 THE WOMAN IN THE CA SE As he enters, TOMPSON quickly hides the paper behind his back. WALTERS. Did you ring, sir TOMPSON. Yes, Walters. Is there an even- ing paper in the house WALTERS. I don't know, sir. Mr. Rolfe sometimes brings one home, and sometimes doesn't. I haven't seen one this evening, sir. TOMPSON. The servants have none WALTERS. No, sir. Having a dinner party on, we've none of us been out, sir. TOmPSON. Well, open the hall door, and tell Mrs. Rolfe's mother, Mrs. Hughes, who is wait- ing there, to come in. We don't want the guests to know she is here. WALTERS. [Looking surprised.] Yes, sir. [Goes out. [TOMPSON crosses the room to the sofa, watching THE WOMA v IN THE CASE 27 the door. MRS. HUGHES enters. She is a handsome, well-preserved woman of fjity-four. MRS. HUGHES. Are they still in the dining room ToMPSON. No,-only Julian and the men. Your daughter has taken her guests to see the wedding presents, but she'll be back at once. MRS. HUGHES. Do you think she's seen the paper TOMPSON. I don't know - the servants haven't. [Enter MARGARET. MARGARET. [Surprised.] Why, mother! Does Julian know - is anything the matter [Going to her, and taking her hand. MRS. HUGHES. Shall we tell her TOMPSON. My dear Madam, isn't that what you brought me here to do 28 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MRS. HUGHES. Yes. You see, Margaret, Mrs. Mane brought it to me. John had brought it home to her, - not her husband, - her son, I mean, -and he'd seen it in the train by ac- cident, on his way up town - MARGARET. [Alarmed and curious.] Seen what [Looking from her mother to TOmPSON. MRS. HUGHES. My dear, I'm telling you! She said she thought I ought to see it at once. And you can imagine what a state it put me into! MARGARET. [More alarmed.] No, I can't! I can't, because you don't tell me what it is, mother. MRS. HUGHES. Why - [Stops.] It's - [Hesi- tates.] It's an awful article in an evening paper. I say it's libellous. I went at once to Mr. Tomp- son, didn't I - [TOMPSON bows assent, as she THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 29 doesn't wait for hint to speak] and said you must come at once to her The woman is a most dangerous person, evidently, who will stop at nothing. I think she's at the bottom of it all. Mr. Tompson won't say, but I tell him it takes a wvoman to catch a woman. Don't you agree waith me, Margaret MARGARET. [Desperate.] Mother, if you'll only tell me what it all is! MRS. HUGHES. I thought I had - I've been trying to. ToMPSON. [Gizvng MARGARET the paper.] Read for yourself. It's better. [MARGARET takes the paper to the lamp. MRS. HUGHES. [To TomPsoN.] What have you decided TOMPSON. I can decide nothing till I see Julian. 30 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. [Looking up from the paper.] A reporter was here and asked me if I'd read this. [TOMPSON shows interest. MRS. HUGHES. I hope you told him you hadn't! MARGARET. Of course, because I hadn't. [Reads on. MRS. HUGHES. I'm glad you told him so, anyway. Mr. Tompson thinks it may be best to ignore the whole thing. But I tell him - still 1 don't know -what - MARGARET. [Interrupting.] But this is ab- surd! Julian could only have known Philip Long's mistress through Philip. MRS. HUGHES. Exactly what I say! I be- lieve in suing the paper. MARGARET. [Doubtingly.] Love letter from Julian calling her "Darling Claire"! THE WOMVAN IN THE CASE 31 MRS. HUGHES. So they say, and found in her desk! MARGARET. Oh, this is some sensational story! It'll all be disproved in the morning. MRS. HUGHES. That's just what I think, and we'd better ignore the whole thing! [To TomP- SON.] You see! [To MARGARET.] He didn't want me to come to you at all! He wanted to go to Julian privately. But I said I wasn't going to have your married life begun with secrets. [To ToKPSON.] I agree with Margaret, - the whole thing will blow over in the morning. MARGARET. [Putting aside the paper.] Ah, I won't read any more! I don't believe a word of it, and it'll only make me angry and miserable, -and Julian too! [To MRS. HUGHES.] Don't show this to him. ToWrsoN. Oh, but we must! Others would 32 THE IVOMAN IN THlE CASE/ speak of it to him, if we didn't, and it's only right he should hear of it from us. MRS. HUGHES. Yes, I must say, Margaret, I agree with Mr. Tompson. MARGARET. Julian! The soul of honor! MRS. HUGHES. Oh, yes, - silly about telling the truth, even when a boy. I never could make him see there were lies and lies! MARGARET. Why, Mr. Tompson, the idea that Julian could want to steal this woman from Philip, and at the very time that he was asking me to marry him! Oh! Oh! It's too prepos- terous even for his enemies, if he has any, to believe ! Julian, who has given me three of the most beautiful months that ever any woman was blessed with ! Julian, who has shown me more truth and beauty and goodness in the world than ever I, in my most innocent girlhood, TIHE WOMAN IN THlE CASE 33 dreamed were there! Julian, a man loved by all the men he's come in contact with! Julian!! My Julian ! Oh! If it wasn't so terrible a thing to say, even when not true, [half hysterically] I'd laugh! [She tears the paper in two. ToMrPSON. Don't, please! [He is too late.] I wanted to show that to Julian, all the same! MARGARET. [Giuing him the pieces.] Tell him in a few words, if you like, but don't make him read through that brutal story. Remember how ill he's been, -and really it isn't necessary. [She rings the electric bell. MRS. HUGHES. Margaret's right! MARGARET. I'll send for Julian, and you see him alone. I'm sure it would make him feel worse about it, to have me here. I'd rather he didn't know I knew anything about it, if you 34 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE can arrange it so. Come, m will take the men up to the MRS. HUGHES. Oh, my h orrors! TOMPSON. What horrors MRS. HUGHES. The misfit they're all there! other. library. dear,; You and I imong the wedding presents; [Laughing. Tom-Pso.N laughs too. MARGARET. Not all. Mr. Tompson's lamp is there, mother. MRS. HUGHES. [Saving herself.] The one that gives such a splendid light MARGARET. Exactly I TomPsoN. Well done! [JIMMY O'NEILL comes in from the dining room. O'NEILL. I say, -we're bored in there. Can't we join you, now Oh, excuse me, -I didn't THE IOMAN IN THE CASE 35 know you had other guests. Good evening, Mrs. Hughes. MRS. HUGHES. Good evening, Jimmy. O'NEILL. [To TOMPSON.] How do you do TOMIPSON. Good evening, Mr. O'Neill. O'NEILL. Where's Elsie and the rest of the little lot MARGARET. Gone up to the library. You bring the men up there to join us. [Enter WALTERS. O'NEILL. All right. [Goes out. MARGARET. Walters, tell Mr. Rolfe Mr Tompson wishes to see him here a moment. WALTERS. Yes, Madam. [lie exits. TOMIPSON. Is Mr. Rolfe entirely recovered MARGARET. Well, he's wonderfully better! 36 THE WOMAN iN THE CASE And he would have our little dinner to-night. But the doctor forbids his going to the office yet. MRS. HUGHES. The doctor's quite right. TOmpsON. I suppose it's hard for Rolfe to keep idle. MARGARET. Oh, awfully! He'd disobey the doctor, if he dared. But he feels still the slightest exertion, and any strain or extra effort would really be serious. You see, he has no strength to fight a relapse with. MRS. HUGHES. Of course, you know, he seems perfectly well to me. MARGARET. He will be, soon. He's to go out to-morrow. Don't let this worry him, -will you, Mr. Tompson TompsoN. No. indeed, no more than I can help. MARGARET. [To MRS. HUGHES.] Come along, mother! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 37 MRS. HUGHES. But I'm not dressed. MARGARET. Nonsense! You talk like Lady Godiva. Come along. [Going to the door, MRS. HUGHES following her.] Julian will snap his fingers at that article, I'm sure, Mr. Tompson. [Both go out. [TOMPSON picks up the pieces of paper, and is putting them together, as JULIAN enters, smoking a cigar. TOMPSON places the papers on the piano, and joins the two pieces, leavi1g them there. JULIAN. Hello, Tompson! TomPsoN. [Going toward him.] How are you, Rolfe Glad to hear you're so much better. JULIAN. Oh, yes, I'm all right now, -or will be, once they let me out, and I'm at work. But you know what doctors and wives are. TOMPSON, Yes, I know! Life preservers. 38 THE WYOMVAN IN THE CASE JULIAN. True! Well, what can I do for you [Sits on the sofa; ToM-PsON sits down beside him. TomPsON. [Embarrassed.] Well -er JULIAN. By George! What's the matter You behave as if you wanted a loan! With pleasure, my dear man,-anything in the world. Ask me for anything-except my wife -and with nothing but her I'd be the richest man you know I TOMpSON. [Smiling.] You make an old bach- elor like me feel pretty much out of it! No, it's not money. There's - er - There's a scandal- ous article in an evening paper about Philip Long and Claire Forster - JULIAN. Poor old Philip,-even death didn't get him out of his troubles ! TOMPSON. [Continuing.] And about you. THE 1'OA1IA N IN THlE CA; SE 39 JULIAN. [As if he didn't quite follow.] What TOMPSON. The scandal in the article doesn't really concern Philip; it has to do with you. JULIAN. [Very quietly, and smoking.] How do you mean ToMPsoN. You know, the Long family will not accept the idea of suicide. J ULIAN. Yes. TONIPSON. And they are bound to leave no stone unturned to explain what they call the mys- tery of Philip's death. JULIAN. I know. To0rIPSON. They are urging the police on, and are employing detectives of their own. JULIAN. Yes! TOMPSoN. And now some of the Press are with them, and take the family's view. JULIAN. Yes! 40 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE TOmrPSON. Well, to-night, one of these papers comes out, suggesting - insinuating - that you killed Philip Long - JULIAN. I! Dear old Philip! I loved him like a twin brother! TomPSON. The motive hinted at is jealousy of the woman. JULIAN. Ridiculous! I was the woman's greatest enemy. And if I weren't, leaving out my mother, there's only one woman in creation for me -and that's Margaret -the woman I made my wife only one week before the tragic undoing of poor old Phil! ToMPSON. [Going to the piano, and glancing down at the paper.] The paper states it has secured information that the detectives have found, in Claire Forster's flat, proof that you were the woman's lover. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 4I JULIAN. [Angry and stern, rises.] It's a lie! TOMPSON. The writer of the paper claims to have seen letters from you to her. [A change comes over JULIAN; he puts his cigar on the tray on the table, and he sits back, thoughtfully and without anger. A moment's pause. JULIAN. Letters TOMPSON. Love letters! JULIAN. But old ones! Three years old! TOMPSON. [Astonished, and with a note oj alarm in his voice.] What! There are letters Love letters of yours to her JULIAN. There might be a few-old ones, if she kept them. ToWPSON. Kept them!! Of course she kept them! Letters are those women's certificates of stock ! 42 THE WVOJWA XV IN THE CASE JULIAN. But there's nothing incriminating in those letters. ToMPsoN. [Drawling up a. chair beside the sofa.] How do you know Do you remember what is in them JULIAN. [With a half laugh, half sneer.] Hardly! Three years ago, -long before I had ever s2en Margaret -for ten days, I thought I was in love with Claire Forster. I picked her out of a sextette, or double octette -or coon chorus, or something! And she took me in. I was more or less of a country boy, and new at the game! TOMiPSON. But - JULIAN. There's no "but" about it. In ten days I found out just what she was. Her whole nature drew her back into the street; nothing could save her. Mvv decency bored her, thank TiHE IVOI1IANv IN THE CASE 43 God! She had an itch for vice that nothing could cure! TomrPSON. Are your letters dated JULIAN. Likely not. I'm apt just to write only the day of the week at the head of a letter. I don't know and I don't care! That vas ages ago. There may be three, there may be four. But they can only make me seem like a fool, - not like a criminal! ToMPso-N. Did Philip know about this JULIJAN. Yes, I told him the whole thing when I prevented him marrying her. ToMNipsoN. When was that JULIAN. The day after Margaret and I came back from our honeymoon. But don't let's talk any more about it. [Rises, crosses to the piano, and touches the keys. TOMPsON. We must; you may have trouble I 44 THE O'M.A N IN THE CASE JULIAN. Nonsense! ToMPSON. How did you prevent the mar- riage JULIAN. [Turns and faces him.] Showed her up, of course. She'd taken him in good! Won his sympathy, made him believe he was the only man who had moved her better nature. TOMPSON. Perhaps that was true! JULIAN. True Bah! When she'd practi- cally ruined him ! Turned him into a drunkard! TOWPSON. You knew they were intimate JULIAN. I knew he was mad about her, but thought he'd find her out, as I did. But he was too much in love. I told him my experience; I told him others I knew of. I told him she was tired of the gutter, and wanted to try respecta- bility at any sacrifice, even of him, but that the old itch would come back. And that when she'd THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 45 wrung him dry and sodden, she'd go back to the pavement ! TOMPSON. Well JULIAN. He wouldn't believe me! He as good as told me I lied. He asked me to accuse her to her face, -and I did! [He takes out a cigar, and clips the end. ToMPsON. You did JULIAN. Yes, the next night, the night he- died. [Takes a match. TompsoN. At his rooms JULIAN. Yes. [He strikes the match. TomrPSON. What did she do JULIAN. [Lighting his cigar.] Fought to keep him, of course; lied first, and was weak; and then she was strong and indignant. But I 46 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE fought, too! Telling him first what she had already done for him, and what more she would do. I asked him what she had so far done for his character; what, with his ideals of life, with his habits even! I asked him if he would take Claire Forster home to be a daughter to his old mother! I said everything I could think of, till she lost her control completely, and gave herself dead away with a hysterical rage of low language that more than proved all I said. There are women like that! If you can once get them started. they lose their heads, and nothing stops them, even if it means their own ruin! TOMPSON. Then what happened JULIAN. He gave me his word not to marry her, and asked me to leave them alone. I did. It was about midnight. He shot himself that morning, early. TIlE IVOMAN IN TIHE CASE d7 TOMPSON. How she must hate you! JULIAN. [With a shrug.] Very probably! ToMPSON. She'll surely stop at nothing by way of revenge. JULIAN. Between her and me there's a whole world, Tompson! She can't harm me, let her try all she wants. TomtPsoN. You could turn the evidence against her - frighten her by accusing her of the mur- der - JULIAN. No motive! TomrPSON. A quarrel. JULIAN. No evidence strong enough - no- She wanted him living, not dead, - that's self- evident. TOMPSON. And what about this article JULIAN. Nothing. Ignore it! TompsoN. But if the police - 48 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE JULIAN. [Interrupting.] My dear old friend, -don't be absurd; you are romancing. I am only sorry that my letters should be spoken of, because I must tell Margaret the story, and I'd have rather spared her, - that's all. TOMPSON. She has read the article. JULIAN. Well, I'm sure it made no impression on her ToMPsoN. No, she was only afraid you would be annoyed. JULIAN. To-morrow, some other paper will have a new story, and this will be forgotten. Tom:PSON. Very probably. But it's best, in any case, that I should have had this explana- tion with you. JULIAN. Why TOMPSON. [Rising.] Well, you see, if your letters are undated, and if this woman wants THE WOMAN IN THE CASE to make trouble, and if the police wish to make out a case somehow - [Sits down again.] Havc you any proofs JULIAN. Of what TOm1PSON. That you've had nothing to do with Miss Forster for years. JULIAN. I've the proof of my word, of my love for my wife, of her confidence in me. TomPsoN. And mine in you! I believe all you have said, implicitly. But you would have to prove it practically for a criminal court. JULIAN. [Laughs and rises.] Tompson, don't you worry! "Shop" is carrying you away. [Enter MARGARET and MRS. HUGHES. MARGARET. Julian, they're all going to Mrs. Warner's for a rehearsal of their dance, you know. JULIAN. [Going toward the door.] Where are they In the library 49 50 THE IVOAIA N IN THE CASE MARGARET. No, down in the hall. [JULIAN goes out, arnd is greeted with a chorus of the three girls at once. ELSIE. You're a nice man to sneak away! DORA. You will deign to come and I [Together. say good-by to us. LOUISE. Won't you change your mind and bring Margaret [Door is heard shutting outside. MARGARET. Did you tell him TomPsoN. Yes, and he ridiculed taking any notice of the article. MRS. HUGHES. As I told you he would! TompsoN. [To MARGARET.] He was only wor- ried for fear it would cause you annoyance. MARGARET. Dear old Julian! MRS. HUGHES. Well, of course, Margaret ThlE IVOMI AN IN THlE CASE 51 you didn't expect him to feel otherwise, did you MARGARET. I didn't "expect" anything, mother, because I knew he would feel whatever was right. MRS. HUGHES. Really, Mr. Tompson, we've had all our trouble for nothing, and upset both our evenings. I was so comfy with everything tight down, and my hair off - MARGARET. [Laughing.] What MRS. HUGHES. I mean my hair down and everything tight off, - and was going to have a restful evening. I wish I were back home. I didn't want to come, anyway! TomrPsoN. Well, that's pretty good, consider- ing you came after me, and made me bring yout1 MRS. HUGHES. Did I TomPsoN. Emphatically you did! 52 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MRS. HUGHES. Oh, well, then it was because I thought it was my duty; but I didn't believe in doing it, all the same. MARGARET. Well, now, mother darling, lis- ten. Don't worry over Julian and me. You know, really, I'm sure Julian won't have it! He is perfectly capable of taking care of himself and me, and you into the bargain, if necessary. MRS. HUGHES. But, my dear, I'm not happy unless I'm worrying over some one. MARGARET. Then get married again, darling! MRS. HUGHES. I've half a mind to; it's so lonely without you! What do you think, Mr. Tompson TOMWPSON. Is that a proposal MRS. HUGHES. Oh, dear no! [Laughing.] If I should re-marry, it would be to some nice, weak man, like a genius, or an unlucky speculator, - THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 53 some one who wanted to be worried over and looked after, - not a big, successful lawyer like you! JULIAN. [Coming back, gaily.] Well, they've gone! TomPSON. You don't sound sorry. JULIAN. Who isn't sorry! Oh yes, of course, mighty nice crowd! MRS. HUGHES. Well, don't be angry - but I really must go, too, now! [MARGARET and JULIAN exchange ainused glances. MARGARET rings electric bell. ToMpsON. [lfith a wink at JULIAN.] Don't you think it's a pity to leave Julian and Margaret all alone the best part of the evening MRS. HUGHES. Yes, I'm awfully sorry! MARGARET. [Laughing.] Really! MRS. HUGHES. But I must go home. I'm reading that new historical novel, and am at 54 THE IVOMAN IN THE CASE such an exciting part! The heroine's just dis- guised herself as a man, and I want to finish the book if I can, to-night. You know, she generally does that two-thirds through. [MARGARET go- izg up to her.] Good-by, dear! [Kissing her.] I've had a lovely time! I mean - I'm glad everything's all right. What did we come over here for, anyway [Turning to TomPsoN. MARGARET. Nothing of importance, mother. MRS. HUGHES. Of course, that's what I told him! [Enter WALTERS. MARGARET. Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Tompson are going, Walters. WALTERS. Yes, m 'm. [Goes out, MRS. HUGHES. Good night THE WIOMA N IX TIHE CASE JULIAN. Good night! MRS. HUGHES. Julian, Margaret says you want me to get married! JULIAN. [Laughi'ng.] What MARGARET. [Laughs.] 3hother / MRS. HUGHES. Well, I think I will have a last look round! Good night. JULIAN AND MARGARET. Good night. [MARGARET goes out with her. ToMPsoN. [To JULIAN.] Good night. Don't put that article entirely out of your mind. I don't want to be an alarmist, and I agree with you there's nothing in it. But the best way to avert trouble of any kind is to be ready to meet it. JULIAN. Oh, that's all right. [They shake hands. TOMiPSON. [To MARGARET, whom he meets coming in the door.] Good night. 55 56 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Good night, and thank you for coming over. TompsoN. Not at all. AIl repeat "Good night." MARGARET closes the door, turns, and faces JULIAN. They look at each other a second, half amused, but with love in their eyes. The smile dies out; MARGARET puts her hands on JULIAN 'S shoulders, and looks zip loidngly into his eyes. MARGARET. [Softly.] Dear Julian! JULIAN. [Puts his arms about her, and draws her to him. He kisses her, and speaks softly.] My darling wife! MARGARET. [With her head on his shoulder.] Mother hated to leave us alone! [Both laugh. JULIAN. Margaret, what a lucky man I am! [Leading her to the sofa. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 57 MARGARET. Nonsense! The luck is all on my side. Shall we have some music Do you feel able JULIAN. Yes, indeed! But later! First, I've something I want to tell you. [He manes a movement for them to sit down; she hangs back. MARGARET. That article about Philip Long Don't trouble! JULIAN. It isn't trouble, dear. At least, I feel it's better to tell you what there is to tell. MARGARET. Very well, Julian, if you wish. But of course I don't believe a word in the article ! JULIAN. Yet in a way some of it is true. [They sit down. MARGARET. In what way 58 THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE JUlLIAN. Well, once I did write a couple of love letters to Miss Forster. IMARGARET. [Smilin7glyV.] No, I don't believe you. You're trying to tease me. JULIAN. No, it's true' But it was three years ago. Before I knew you even, I had broken with her. I won't insult the word "love" by using it in connection with her; but I believed in her. And in something like a fort- night she herself disillusioned me! I was a boy as far as women were concerned. I'd always been a man's man, caring only for man's com- pany. I wasn't a woman-hater; it was only I hadn't come in contact with them, and didn't miss woman then -to be honest. MARGARET. And now JULIAN. Now!! No- " ! [Iis arms about her.] This old story, foolish and empty, hasn't made you doubt me, has it THIE WVOMl0AN IN THE CASE MARGARET. No, no! JULIAN. [Holds her in his arms.] All my time, all my desires, as a very young man, had been wXrapt up in my profession. Do you for- give me MARGARET. Of course' Of course!! JULIAN. When I met you, I'd already for- gotten the woman. AMy experience hadn't em- bittered me. I knew she was a bad lot, and I'd forgotten her. MARGARET. But you'd seen many other women since that,--before you met me! JULIAN. By George, yes' Millions'! Some made my eyelashes quiver just a little, perhaps! But I was on my guard ! And when I met you, I stopped right then' And before long I knew here wNas the real thing -love that you read about - lasting, faithful! You believe me, Margaret g9 60 THE WOMVAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Yes. [Rising, and looking at him, with her hands on his shoulder.] And, Julian, I don't ask to be your first love; I only want to be your last. Come, let's play. JuLIAN. [Rising.] You understand, I never saw or thought of Claire Forster again, till I found her trying to ruin my friend! MARGARET. I understand everything good of you, Julian, and nothing bad. [He puts his arms about her.] I understand how I love you, first and last and always. I have perfect faith in you ! You represent life in this world to me. I love you - and I believe in your love for me. That's all I can say. I mean ten million times more than that. But I know of no words to say it in. And if I did know the words, then they would fall short still ten million times of what my love and your love mean to me! THE WOMAN lV THE CASE 6r JULIAN. Thank you! I wish I were worthier of you. I feel so ashamed of the story I've told you. MARGARET. Don't! I've forgotten it! You forget it, too! Come, we'll play, and that'll drive it out of our minds. [Going to piano.] You hear me! It's to be driven out of our minds for good! [Ile kisses her. JULIAN. Bless you, Margaret! [They go to the piano, MARGARET to the Left. JULIAN sts.IJ What shall we play MARGARET. What you want! [Taking out her violin. JULIAN. No, what you want' [They laugh at each other. MARGARET. I want what you choose! JULIAN. That's just the way I feel. [They both laugh again. 62 TiHE WT'O.MAN IN TIlE CASE MARGARET. Now, we are a foolish pair of lovers! JULIAN. [Picking up a piece of music.] This MARGARET. [Looking at it.] Yes. [As they are getting ready to piay. JULIAN. How thoughtful of Mrs. Warner to have had her rehearsal, and taken our guests away! MARGARET. Yes' I'm afraid she didn't do it purposely, but it was nice of her, all the same! JULIAN. Our guests were very nice But -! MARGARET. Exactly! "But"! How happy we are alone together, Julian, in our own home. [He seizes her hand, which holds the bow, and kisses it. Then they begin to play. Once or twice theye look at each other and smile as they play. After a few seconds, the door open. THE IVO'W XA It TIlE 0.1.SFE quicklx, and a POLICE INSPECTOR enters with WALTERS. A POLICEMAN is in the hall outside. WALTERS. Mr. Rolfe, this man insists - [They stop playing, and JULIAN rises. INSPECTOR. [Corning down to them.] Is this Mr. Julian Rolfe JULIAN. It is. Why do you come into my house like this What do you want INSPECTOR. [very quietly.] I have an order for your arrest. MARGARET. What! INSPECTOR. I'm very sorry to break in on you like this, m'm. JULIAN. Come, this is some practical joke! INSPECTOR. Practical joke! Good God, what do you take me for [He goes to the door, opens it, and calls:] Sweeney! 63S 64 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE SWEENEY. [Appears at the door.] Yes, sir. [MARGARET puts down her violin. INSPECTOR. Captain Warren there WARREN. [Answering from outside.] Yes, sir! INSPECTOR. All right. [Closes the door. MARGARET. Julian! INSPECTOR. Excuse me, but this is no joke! JULIAN. You've really come here to arrest me INSPECTOR. Yes, sir, and I hope you'll make my duty as easy as possible for us both, by com- ing with me quietly. MARGARET. Julian! JULIAN. Wait in the hall, Walters. WALTERS. Yes, sir. [Goes out. JUTLIAN. But what are you arresting me for INSPECTOR. For the murder of Philip Long. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 65 MARGARET. No! No! It's impossible. Why, you're crazy! My husband was Philip Long's best friend! My husband is a man whose char- acter is above reproach. You can't bring a charge like that against my husband! Why, half New York will rise to resist you - fight you ! JULIAN. One minute, Margaret, dear, -please! [To INSPECTOR.] Where's your warrant INSPECTOR. [Hands JULIAN the warrant. To MARGARET.] It's the State who's bringing the charge, -not I, m'm. MARGARET. [Growing excited.] But do you mean to tell me that in a free country like ours, an innocent man can be taken by force at night from his own house, from his wife's arms, and without any redress JULIAN. [Calmingly.] Margaret, dear! [To the INSPECTOR.] Where are you going to take me 66 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE INSPECTOR. To the nearest station house, to-night, where the charge will be formally entered. MARGARET. [Aghast.] The charge! [JULIAN makes a tender, calming gesture toward her. INSPECTOR. To-morrow morning you will ap- pear before - MARGARET. But my husband's ill! He's an ill man! JULIAN. What about bail MARGARET. [Quickly.] Yes, I'll get bail some- where! Who shall I go to, Julian There are fifty rich men who'd come to your assistance, I know! INSPECTOR. I can't say anything about bail. It's for the Judge to decide; but I'm afraid you mustn't count on bail in a case of this sort. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 67 JULIAN. In a case like this where there can be absolutely no proof INSPECTOR. Excuse me, -it's not my business to discuss the case with you, but to take you to the station house. Only, I advise you to take along anything you may want in the way of clothes or comforts you're allowed, because, take my word for it, the proofs are enough to rob you of your chance of bail. MARGARET. [Aluch more excited.] It's a lie! Do you hear me, it's a lie! Julian! JULIAN. Keep calm, dear! INSPECTOR. I take it you don't read the even- ing papers! JULIAN. You're arresting me on that article about my letters MARGARET. He wrote them years ago! He - JULIAN. [To MARGARET, kindly.] Ssh! 68 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE INSPECTOR. The woman has made a very damaging statement which will be read to you. Are you ready to go with me JULIAN. Oh! She's made a statement, has she MARGARET. Yes, but you can't take the word of a creature like that, who is perhaps lying to save herself ! INSPECTOR. Are you ready to come MARGARET. [More excited, verging on hysterics.] No! No! You can't take him away like this! You sha'n't! JULIAN. Margaret! MARGARET. He's been ill, I tell you! You can't take him away, to sleep where or how! You've no right to risk his life! JULIAN. Margaret, I must go! But it'll be all right. I'll be back soon -maybe to-morrow. [Going to her.] Good night, dear. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 69 MARGARET. [Hysterical.] No! No! I can't bear it, Julian! I realize better than you the risk you're running. He's been ill for two months; he hasn't been out of the house yet! Let him stay home to-night. I give you my word he'll be here to-morrow morning. Give him your word, too, Julian! JULIAN. That's impossible. The Jaw's the law! I'm perfectly able to go with this man. Calm yourself, if you love me! And say good night. [She tries to calm her hysteria; he em- braces and kisses her; she sobs hysterically. He turns to the INSPECTOR.] I'm ready! MARGARET. Oh, no! Not yet! Not yet! Perhaps we can think of some way! INSPECTOR. There's no way, Madam, except the way to the station house. If your husband is innocent, he'll prove it. But meanwhile - 70 THE WOMvAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. [Interrupting, and clinging to JULIAN.] No, Julian, don't go! Refuse to go! They really can't make you. You didn't do this dreadful thing, and you know it, and can prove it, without their taking you away! Don't go! Don't go! JULIAN. My love! My love! Be strong! INSPECTOR. Come now, Madam. He's got to go; he knows, and he's willing. You're only making things worse. MARGARET. No, I'm not! I tell you he isn't fit to go out to-night, and to go to such a horror! JULIAN. [In agony at her suffering.] Mar- garet ! MARGARET. A chill, the strain, anything might bring back his illness! It'd kill him! He sha'n't go! I won't let him! Do you hear me THlE W1 OMAN IN TIHE CASE I'll hang on to you both, to hold you back; and God'll give me strength! INSPECTOR. Come along! JULIAN. [Aside to the INSPECTOR.] No! Call in your men and take me away as if by force' Once I'm gone, it'll be easier for her. MARGARET. Do you hear me You sha n't take him out of this room, - at any rate without me! JULIAN. [To the INSPECTOR.] Quick! [The INSPECTOR goes toward the door. MARGARET. [It an ecstacy, thinking he's goilng to leave them.] You'll leave him!! Oh, thank you! Thank you! He'll be here to-morrow, I promise you! We'll both be here! You won't be sorry! INSPECTOR. I'm not going to leave him! I want my men. [Opens the door and calls:] Sweeney! 7 1 72 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Julian! [Running to him, and embracing him; he tries to calm her. SWEENEY. [As he comes in.] Yes, sir. INSPECTOR. Take charge of this man! SWEENEY. Yes, sir. [Going to JULIAN. MARGARET. [IlHsterical,-almost beside herself.] No! No! JULIAN. I must go with him, dear, and you're making it so hard for me! [Going. MARGARET. Then take me, too! Let me go with him. Arrest me, too! [Going after them, and catching hold of JULIAN. INSPECTOR. No, Madam! MARGARET. Yes! Yes! That's all I ask, now. Take me with him! THE IVOM.A X IX THlE CASE 73 INSPECTOR. It can't be! JULIAN. Stay here, dear! Stay here! MARGARET. [Beside herself.] No! No! Take me, too. I will go, too! INSPECTOR. [Pulling her away from JULIAN.] No! JULIAN. [To the INSPECTOR.] Be careful! [JULIAN, the POLICEMAN and INSPECTOR move toward door. MARGARET. [Quite beside herself, half screams, half cries.] No, I can't bear it. You sha'n't separate us! Julian! [Running to them, she clings to JULIAN at the door. He tries tenderly to free himself from her, but can't. The POLICIE- MAN and INSPECTOR pull him through the door, dragging her along, as she clings to JULIAN.] They sha'n't separate us! I will go with you, Julian, I will go with you! 74 THE WVOMA.N IN THE CASE [JULIAN tries to calm her with "Margaret, my dear little woman." The double doors are open, and they are heard in the hall outside. INSPECTOR. [Taking JULIAN'S arm.] You must get rid of her! [The POLICEMAN closes the doors. MARGARET is heard crying that she won't leave himi, and the INSPECTOR, loud, angry, losing at last his control, says: ] By God, you must let go of him! MARGARET. [Off stage.] No! No! You'll see! INSPECTOR. [Off stage.] Sweeney, throw the woman off ! JULIAN. [Off stage.] No ! MARGARET. [Screams.] No ! [There is a loud bang on the door, as MARGARET'S body strikes it. The door bursting open, she falls in, and tumbles on the floor, crying, "Julian! Julian!" THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 75 JULIAN. [Of stage.] Damn you for a beast! INSPECTOR. (Off stage.] Here, come along. I've stood all I can, now. The door, Warren! MARGARET. [On the floor, helpless itn her hys- teria, raises herself on her elbow, calling out:] Julian! Julian! THE CURTAIN FALLS ACT II SCENE: Visitors' Room at the Tombs [MARGARET, MRS. HUGHES, and TOMPSON shown in by the attendant. MRS. HUGHES. [To MARGARET.] Oh, dear, is this where you have to see him every time MARGARET. Yes, mother. MRS. HUGHES. What awful taste! They might have furnished it better. Look how well they do hotels now! ToMPSON. You mustn't forget that the guests of smart hotels pay well. Here, the guests pay nothing, except with their consciences. MARGARET. Julian is paying a heavy price, but not with his conscience. 76 THE WOJIAN I.V THE CASE 77 TompsON. That's true! But to punish the guilty, the innocent must sometimes suffer. It's the history of the world! MRS. HUGHES. Do you know, the place gets quite on my nerves ! I really feel faint! MARGARET. [Going to her mother.] Oh, mother, no! MRS. HUGHES. Yes, really. Do you think Julian will be here soon Tom-PsoN. [Looking at his watch.] Well, we're a little ahead of our time, but I think he'll be here presently. MRS. HUGHES. Do you think he'd feel very badly if I didn't wait [Rising.] I'll leave my card here, do you see, and turn down the end to show I really came myself; but, of course, you'll be here and could tell him! MARGARET. [Rising and giving P,,- card back to 78 THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE MRS. HUGHES.] Don't leave your card, mother, --leave your love. I'll give it to Julian,-and you go. It's just as well, because Mr. Tompson and I will have much to say about the case to him. MRS. HUGHES. I know, and I'd like to stay here and advise, but I really do feel so awfully upset by the whole thing! To think that a son-in-law of Mrs. Winifred Hughes should be in this place ! MARGARET. Yes, yes, mother! I think it's better you should go. Your nerves won't stand it. [She motions to TOm-PSoN, who opens the door. MRS. HUGHES. I really oughtn't to have come. I knew I oughtn't, but you persuaded me! MARGARET. No, mother, I begged you not to come, but you insisted! THlE WOlf; AN IN TIlE CASE 79 AIRS. HUGHES. Yes, I know, -I thought you meant you wanted me to. I can't go out alone' MARGARET. There's a man there who'll show you the way. [The ATTENDANT appears. ATTENDANT. This way, Madam. MRS. HIUGHIES. Thank you. [To MARGARET.] Give him my love! MARGARET. Yes. [MIRS. HUEciiS goes out. TomPsON and MAR- GARET come back zinto the room. ToMPsoN. Shall I leave you alone with Rolfe, and come back MARGARET. When hie comes, if you would! -for a few minutes. TomPSON. Of course, of course! MARGARET. But not for long. [She smiles sadly.j Vou keep me calm! so THE WOMAN IN THE CASE TOmpSON. Don't you worry about yourself. You're wonderful, Mrs. Rolfe, in your self-posses- sion and nerve! MARGARET. You're very good, but I lost control of myself entirely, that awful night, three weeks ago. TompsoN. Oh, but that was natural - natural. MARGARET. I was tired out by all my anxiety during his illness, I suppose, - because I'm not naturally an overstrung woman. TOmMPsON. You don't have to tell me that, now, after the way you've behaved these three weeks! MARGARET. Still, I feel if only you'd been there when it happened, if they'd only come a little earlier in the evening, when you were there, I wouldn't have gone to pieces so! I blame myself, because it made it all the more terrible for him. THE WOMIfAN IN THE CASE 81 TOMPSON. You still feel absolutely convinced he was totally unprepared MARGARET. [Surprised.] Why, yes, - of course! What a funny question for you to ask me! ToMPSON. Oh, that's my business, you know, -asking every kind of question. MARGARET. Yes, - but - [With a look of suspicion. TOMPSON. I think it so unfortunate that Rolfe never told you of his little affair with Miss For- ster. MARGARET. It wasn't an affair! To1PSON. Well, whatever you want to call it! MARGARET. But he did. ToMPSON. Yes, when the cat was out of the bag; when the letters were published. 82 TIlE 'JMIA N IN TIlE CASE MARGARET. But - TomPsoN. Don't you see how that will tell against him MTARGARET. NO! ToMPSON. He only tells you when forced to, and then claims the letters were three years old. MARGARET. He doesn't claim; he states a fact. They were! ToMPSON. But the dates on them are only a few days before the murder! MARGARET. Forged, of course, - you know that! ToMPsoN. Yes, and anyway, I suppose we must leave that to the writing experts. We'll at least see that we furnish as many as they do! MARGARET. But - but you are arguing with THE IVOMAN IN TlE CASE 83 me as if your confidence had - as if you thought - TomPsoN. I'm thinking nothing. I'm only trying to look at everything from every side. [She glances at him doubtfully a second, then speaks emphatically. MARGARET. There is only one side to look at, -Julian's absolute and entire innocence, which no one who even knows him slightly can doubt for a moment! TOMPSON. That's all right as a point of view for his wife, but not for his lawyer, who wants to save him. MARGARET. [Going to the uindow.] There couldn't be such a miscarriage of justice. ToMPSON. I could cite you several instances, within your memory in the last fifteen years in 84 THE WOMAN IN TUE CASE New York, where men have expiated the crime of murder, with their friends and family and many of the public absolutely convinced of their entire innocence. MARGARET. [Turning on hit.] Oh, but it's cruel of you to talk like this to me! Why do you! ToMPSON. Because I must rouse you to a real- ization of the fact that the evidence in this case, rightly or wrongly, is terribly against your husband! MARGARET. Wrongly' Wrongly!! TOMPSON. [Quietly.] Of course! But we must work every second, and in every direction, all the same, to help him. [MARGARET turns away, half crying, to control herself.] I'm sorry to seem to be so hard, and to have to be cruel. You must take my word for that! THE IVOAIAN IN THE CASE 85 MARGARET. [Her eyes filling wi/th tears.] But I can't help feeling a change in you -in your mind and heart - about him. I don't know what it is, I can't put my hand on any special thing, but I feel it-I don't know-it's an instinct which women have. You have wavered in your confidence! TOMPSON. [GCing to her.] You haven't MARGARET. NO!! TOMPSON. Well, I don't say I have. Perhaps I feel I've not been told everything; that Ju- lian, for some reason or other, hasn't been per- fectly frank ! MARGARET. What reason There couldn't be any! TOmPSON. For instance, just as he kept back his acquaintance with her. MARGARET. But he's made a clean breast of 86 TIlE I'O.MAX IN THIE CASE that, and of everything, you can be sure, that has to do with Miss Forster. ToMPSON. And with Philip Long MARGARET. And with Philip Long. I am sure of it ! ToMPsoN. [Turning on her very quickly and sharply.] Do you know anything, -no matter what - no matter how trivial, - that I don't know MARGARET. [Stands still a moment, searching in her mind, in her memory. ToMPSON watches her closely. After a minute, she speaks slowly.] No - no! I'm sure I don't! [He watches her in silence, to read in her face if she is speaking the truth. After a pause.] But you are taking the offensive attitude with us- with me! Why Why do you - ToUPsoN. If I am to save him, I must know everything - everything' THE WOMANV IN THE CASE 87 MARGARET. [Going to him, frightened and yet confident.] But you do! You do! ToMPsoN. There is a most damaging new piece of evidence come up in the case. The other side tried to keep it secret, -to spring upon us in the trial, -but, fortunately, a newspaper got hold of it, and we have our chance to refute it - [lic adds, almost to himself] if we can. MARGARET. [Eager, anxious, distressed.] What is it ToMPsoN. Wait till he comes, and I'll tell you both together. MARGARET. And he'll explain it away to you in a moment, if it's honest evidence. [JULIANJ is s/houw in. le is very pale, but otherzlise looks well.] Julian! [She hurries to him; they embrace. JULIAN. How are you, Tompson [They shake hands. 88 THE WOM11AN IX THE CASE MARGARET. How do you feel, Julian Are you well JULIAN. My dear girl, I never felt better in my life' You mustn't worry about my health. I'd like to get out into the air, but I assure you that the doctor's orders have been so carefully carried out as to enforced quiet and rest-[u[with a smile] that I'm entirely well again! Any news [They all sit down:. MARGARET. [Quickly.] Yes, dear Julian ! And the same good news always! Everyone I know, believing in you absolutely,-fighting for you! Everyone too kind for words to me! I've not heard a soul who doubts that the trial will be a triumph for you. You've seen the letter in this morning's- JULIAN. Yes, it was fine, wasn't it And all this good-will, of course, means a lot to me, es- THE I i 'OlN IN TIlE CA SE 89 pecially for your sake! [They sit side by side, holding each other's hands.] But I mean, have you any practical news How is the case pro- gressing, Tompson TomPSON. I want to look over a paper or two, outside. I'll come back in a few minutes, and go over everything with you. JULIAN. [To stop him.] But - MARGARET. [To JULIAN aside, interrupting him.] No! He wants to leave us alone. Let him. [Smil ing. [TOMTSON goes out. JULIAN. [Embracing MARGARET again.] MI y poor, darling Margaret, what you have to bear! And for me-that's so hard! MARGARET. [Resting in his arms, with her head on his shoulder.] Shh! Listen, dearest, I've something very important to tell you while he's go THE WOMAN IN THE CASE out of the room - something I've only just now discovered. [Looking at him. JULIAN. Yes, dear MARGARET. Mr. Tompson is lukewarm. JULLAN. How do you mean MARGARET. [Rising.] I don't know. I don't feel satisfied. I wonder if we ought to bring in another firm JULIAN. You don't mean he doubts for a moment the impossibility of my being guilty of the crime of Philip's death MARGARET. [Quickly.] No, no! Of coursy not, - I don't say that, - only - I don't know! To-day, he asks me all sorts of questions, and such odd questions, -as to whether you'd told me everything, and whether you'd told him every- thing you'd told me - and - THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE JULIAN. And what did you say MARGARET. I don't remember. I only know, of course, I told him you had no secrets about this, from me or him! JULIAN. Not one! [Taking her two hands. MARGARET. No, don't say it! I want you to feel I know it, without your saying it. Oh, Julian, how I suffer for you ! JULIAN. That's one of the strangely cruel things about it all. I feel as if, were it only my- self, I could bear it so much easier. But it's the thought of you! And with you, it's the thought of me I MARGARET. If I could only be here in the prison with you - share it all with you! JULIAN. But think what I would feel at your being here in these surroundings -for me! 9 I 92 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. [Sighing.] Yes, I know, I know, -and I've my work to do for you, outside. Well, you think it's all right, then, for us to keep on with Tompson JULIAN. Oh, yes; as far as I can judge, he seems to be doing everything. I'm sure of it! MARGARET. And after all, whoever we have, whatever he does, they can't help but free you, my good Julian ! JULIAN. I hope so. I believe so, Margaret! Of course, if I allowed myself to dwell on my being here-in all this strain, under this awful cloud, almost disgraced by the mere fact of the accusation - MARGARET. [Interrupting, with her arm about him.] Oh, no, Julian, you mustn't say that! JULIAN. But it's true! I am a respectable THE WOMAN IN THE CASE and respected citizen of this city, who's never done a dishonorable action in my life! MARGARET. [With perfect confidence.] Never! JULIAN. Never even done a tricky thing in business! MARGARET. I'm sure of it! JULIAN. [Goes on, scarcely noticing MARGARET'S interruptions. He rises.] With a perfectly clean record, publicly and privately, I can yet be hauled up - accused of a crime, clapped into jail, forced to stand trial for my life! Why, it's inconceiv- able! It's like the Middle Ages! MARGARET. [Going on.] It's an outrage! It's a dastardly outrage! JULIAN. No, - for if you reason it out in cold blood, how else can the criminal laws of the state be properly carried out MARGARET. [Striking the table.] Any other 93 94 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE way! Any other way that will prevent an innocent man suffering what you have! JULIAN. [Looks at her, with a smile.] And an innocent woman, dearest. [Putting his arm around her.] No, I guess our laws are better made than we could make them. [ToapsON knocks at the door. MARGARET. Come in. [TOMPSON enters. ToMPSON. [To MARGARET.] Now, I'm going to ask a favor of you, - turn about is fair play. I want you to give me fifteen minutes alone with your husband. MARGARET. No! Why You told me you had some serious evidence against us to tell Julian. I wish to hear it, too! JULIAN. [Quickly.] What is that TOmEPSON. There are several matters which THE WOMA N IN THE CASE 95 I wish to discuss with your husband, which I feel we could better speak of without your presence. MARGARET. Why JULIAN. If Mr. Tompson really wishes, Mar- garet - MARGARET. No! I don't want anything good or bad kept from me. I don't want to be shut out from you in any of this ordeal of yours. I want to share it all, - all with you. You have no secrets from me, I know, Julian! JULIAN. None! MARGARET. And you don't want to have any, do you JULIAN. No, but if Mr. Tompson - MARGARET. No! I don't wish to offend Mr. Tompson, -[she turns to him] as I hope you know, but I am not willing for you to question my husband, and without me here. You haven't 96 T HE WOMAN IN THE CASE got the faith I have; you showed that to me just now. You're weakening. I daren't leave you for long, ever again, Mr. Tompson, until this case is finished. Your faith in my husband is like a flame dying down. [TOmPSON makes a gesture of dissent.] It is! And I'm going to watch that flame, day and night, and feed it with my own faith, and keep it alive! And I won't leave him alone with you unless Julian insists on my going. ToMaSON. I only wanted you to go so as to spare you some extra pain which it doesn't seem necessary at present to inflict on you. JULIAN. Then, why not go, Margaret MARGARET. No, don't ask! Please don't ask me to shirk any pain that I can share with you. Besides, pain or not, I want to know everything -just what we have to fight! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 97 JULIAN. [Who is standing beside her, with his arms around her, gives her a hug, and says impulsively to ToMPSON, wi'th a smile:] What a bully little woman she is! TowPSON. Very well! They've got a letter of Philip Long's, written to you the very day of his death, which they claim is enough to prove their case against you! JULIAN. But I never received any such letter. TOMPSON. No, -they claim it was never sent. It was found among his effects lately. MARGARET. Huh! A forgery, like the dates on Julian's letters to her! ToMIPSON. I have reason to believe the letter is authentic; though, of course, if it's offered as evidence, we will put our experts to work on it. I have a copy of the letter here. 98 THE WVOMIIAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. [Going quickly' I to him.] Here! i [fi'th excite- JULIAN. Why didn't you ment, both speak- say so! I ing in the same MARGARET. What does it haste. say J ToMPsoN. [Reading.] "Julian, I have found out quite by accident -not from her - that you were here to see Claire to-day." JULIAN. I went that morning to see her pri- vately, to ask her to break off with Philip of her own accord -to frighten her into doing it, if I could, without the scene with all three - which I knew would only be brutal and degrading for Philip, -in fact, for all of us! ToMPsOxN. I see. Your visit at night was the second visit that day JULIAN. Yes, that time we went together. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE g9 MARGARET. You know, of course, Philip and he together. To1rPSON. Well, but what I can't possibly understand is, why I have never heard of this morning visit before! [MARGARET looks at JULIAN, confident of his sure answer. JULIAN. I didn't think to tell you. TomPsoN. Didn't think! Didn't think!! MARGARET. It wasn't successful! He has told of the second, the important visit! JULIAN. Miss Forster was out when I called. I didn't see her, - that is why I didn't mention the visit. It didn't count then. ToMPSON. I'm afraid you'll find it will count now, and strong against you! MARGARET. Oh! JULIAN. When I met Philip at his club, in the xoo THE IVOM1AN IN THE CASE evening, he was in a half-drunken rage with me, as I've stated in my evidence. We had all this out, then. He accused me of every kind of treachery, but I knew he didn't know what he was saying, and I easily forgave him - especially as I was on my way then with him to prove his jealousy wholly wrong. TOMPSON. The letter goes on - [Reads.] "When I told Claire of your visit, she pretended not to know anything about it, - not to have seen you, -but I soon saw she was trying to protect you, knowing what friends we were - so I made her own up to the truth. I told her you were moving Heaven and Hell to keep me from marrying her, and then she out with it: that you had been to see her that morning - and many mornings; that she had love letters from you she could show me, to prove what she THE WOMAN IN THE CASE said; and that the only reason you were against her and my marriage was because you were in love with her yourself. You're a damn fine friend! And by G -" The rest isn't fit to read. [He lays the letter down on the table. MARGARET. Nor was what you have read fit to read, either! JULIAN. Poor, rotten chap! She'd got her devilish work in with him already! What a dear, good sort he used to be, - and gone to the dogs through that woman! Of course he was drunk when he wrote that letter -drunk when she told him all that rigmarole about me! It seems to me I do remember his saying something about having written a letter - when we had our row in my rooms. ToMPsoN. You had a row with him, then That night 1011 102 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE JULIAN. No! Not a row exactly! He came in with this same story, and I gave it the lie. I could always influence his better nature. He practically believed me when we started out for his rooms. That's when he said something about a letter he was glad he hadn't sent. MARGARET. He believed in you, even when he wrote that letter, and that's why he never sent it. TOMPSON. That's a good theory. People write in a rage, and don't send the letter on second thoughts, knowing it may not be the best thing after all. I hope we can persuade the jury of that. But then, there's the woman. JULIAN. How TOluPSON. Well, if she swears that what's in the letter is true, you've got her word, supported THIE W0.1MAV IV THlE CASE by the letter, against only your unsupported explanation. JULIAN. Hum! They'll produce Claire For- ster, of course, for their principal witness ToMPsoN. Oh, naturally! JULIAN. Well, but then you'll cross-examine her TOMPSON. Certainly. JULIAN. Surely you'll be able to trip her up in her tissue of lies. Tom'PsoN. Not surely. She'll be prepared for a tough time with us; she'll be primed! She'll be ready for anything! JULIAN. And she's very clever! ToMrPsoN. [Serious, but kind.i Then there's a lot of terribly strong circumstantial proof against you. [MARGARET rises. JULIAN. I see it, -I begin to see it! 103 104 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE TOmKPSON. If you'd only gone straight home when you left Long and her together. JULIAN. I couldn't! My brain was on fire! I had to walk it off in the cool of the night. I walked for two hours in the Park. TOMpsON. Exactly, and in that second hour he killed himself, and you can't prove an alibi. It's as if the Devil himself had planned it! If you'd only met a policeman in the Park. JULIAN. Perhaps I did! I didn't notice. If I'd only been seen leaving her house at half past twelve. TomPsoN. But you weren't. We can't get a single witness of that sort. Why did you keep it hidden you'd ever known this woman JULIAN. Was it a thing to boast of TomPsoN. Those love letters dated the week of the murder! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I05 JULIAN. The writing experts'll prove the dates false. TOmPSON. You don't know those experts. There'll be as many to prove them true. MARGARET. You think that,-you don't know! TOMnPSON. Well, leave everything else, and just consider what's come up to-day! - this damning letter of Long's to tally with the forged date of your love letters to her! [MARGARET goes to the table, and takes up the letter. MARGARET. He can explain it! JULIAN. Juries don't want explanations, dear; they want proofs! [He takes the letter from MARGARET, and looks at it. TOm-PSON. This morning visit to her, which I only found out to-day-suppose that had been xIo6 THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE sprung on us at the trial!! It might have, there and then. MARGARET. [In distress.] You see! You see! I tell you, your faith is weakening! [Almost in tears. JULIAN turns and puts his hand on her shoulder. TOmpsoN. And then this quarrel with him be- fore you went to his house. First you say a quarrel, and then no quarrel. You contradict yourself, - [MARGARET looks up] you deny, you explain. But you prove nothing. You prove nothing! On the contrary!! I won't dare put you in the witness-box. MARGARET. Put me! I'll prove how deep and true his love for me was at that very time. No man is such a blackguard as they want to make out Julian, that he could love another woman at the very moment he was marrying THIE WVOMAN IN THE CASE me. I tell you there was never a happier bride in the world than he made me! That must prove something I TOMPSON. [Going toward them, in a lowered voice.] Here, in these four walls, with no one to hear but her who loves you above everything, and I, who want to-day -more than anything else in the world, - to save you, but in order to do that, as your lawyer, must be told the truth, all the truth !-come, tell me, so help you God, the truth now, and I will believe you! You did not kill Philip Long [JULIAN looks up at him, horrified. MARGARET. Julian, I told you! Oh, that you should have to suffer that! Don't answer him, - he doz sn't deserve it! JULIAN. [Very quietly, after looking into Towr- SON'S face.] No, I didn't kill my friend! 107 io8 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE To1PSON. You had a quarrel, perhaps, and in the heat of the quarrel- JULIAN. No! TOMPSON. Say he wasn't your friend, -say he was your enemy, - he insulted you - per- haps your wife JULIAN. No! No! MARGARET. Julian! Julian! [She throws her arms around him, and holds him fast.] You sha'n't ask him any more such brutal questions. TOMPSON. [Still quietly, but firmly.] He may have made the first attack on you! Furious at the insults you were piling on the woman he loved, - you struck in self-defense, perhaps - MARGARET. [Interrupting him.] No! No! ! No!!! JULIAN. [Quietly, firmly.] I did not raise my hand against my friend; I did not hurt him - THE WOMAN IN THE CASE log let alone kill him, - and I am and always have been telling you the truth. TOMTPSON. [After a few seconds' pause, looking JULIAN straight in the eyes.] Thank God! I wanted to believe it, and I do! [To MARGARET.] Forgive me! Remember, you're his wife, -and let me tell you, your faith has helped to keep mine alive-and it will save him, if anything can. MARGARET. My faith in him is more than human, - it comes from my very soul, and you know in our souls lives whatever there is of the divine in us. [The ATTENDANT enters. ATTENDANT. Excuse me, Mr. Rolfe's time is up. MARGARET. [Turning to JULIAN.] Already TomPsON. But we must tell you the good news! The trial is set for t he March calendar. I O THE WOMAN IN THE CASE JULIAN. Not till then ToMPSON. Ah, but we will need that time! They're making out a strong case and, although it is a false one, we will have plenty to do, between now and then, getting material and proof and witnesses to combat their evidence! JULIAN. Yes, I suppose so, I suppose so! [He turns to MARGARET, handing the letter to TomPsoN.] It's strange, I don't understand why, but I can't feel the horror, - I can't realize the position. MARGARET. That's because you're incapable of even imagining yourself in the position of a man who had done the dreadful thing they accuse you of. TOMPSON. Yes, if you were guilty, you'd realize it easy enough. And now I want you to go to work, and search your memory through and THE WOMAN IN THE CASE III through for any infinitesimal detail that may have to do with your case. Or anything which has to do with either Long or the Forster woman, or both, -even if in your own mind it has nothing to do with the case. And tell me the result to- morrow. I don't want any more surprises. For the future, let's be prepared beforehand for any- thing the other side may spring on us. [Taking his hand.] Good-by! JULIAN. [Shaking hands cheerfully.] Good-by ! [As TOMPSON goes out, he turns his back discreetly. MARGARET. Till to-morrow, Julian. JULIAN. [Kissing her.] Till to-morrow. MARGARET. You're not discouraged JULIAN. Not a bit, -and don't you lose heart, either. MARGARET. Ah, never! JULIAN. And forgive me ! 112 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Hush! Are you comfortable in your room JULIAN. [Half humorously.] Yes. [Then he adds quickly for her sake:] Yes, quite! MARGARET. There's nothing I can do to make you more comfortable JULIAN. No, dear, no! Till to-morrow. [Goes out with the ATTENDANT. [MARGARET stands a second, lost in thought. TomPsoN is waiting for her. TOMPSON. Shall we go MARGARET. Wait a minute. Mr. Tompson, at last I've thought of something I can do, if only you say so, too! TOmpSON. What is it MARGARET. There is one person who knows the truth about it all. ToMPSON. Claire Forster THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 113 MARGARET. Yes. She's " the woman in the case." There's always a woman! TOM1PSON. Generally. MARGARET. Always! TompsON. Generally 1 MARGARET. ALWAYS!! TOMPSON. But in this instance there is a double difficulty, - the woman in the case isn't hidden, - she stands out before everybody, as chief wit- ness, chief accuser. MARGARET. Ah, but you're wrong! It's the real woman hidden inside her bold, lying front that is the true woman in this case. The woman who knows and who would speak the truth if we could only get at her! TOMPSON. I see your point, and it's good. MARGARET. The thing is to get at the woman. [Walking up and down. I 14 THE TW OMAAN IN THE CASE TomPSON. Hum! -Difficult! MARGARET. Oh, yes, - only a woman could! TomrPSON. Could even another woman MARGARET. I think so. And I'm going to try ! TOMPSON. You! MARGARET. [Standing still.] Yes! Who better Do you suppose she's ever seen me ToMcPSON. No, she'd never heard of you till just before your marriage. You were then in the country, where she could not possibly have been. And ever since you came back from your wedding journey, you've been practically shut up in Rolfe's sick-room. No! It's every chance she hasn't seen you. MARGARET. You know where she lives ToMPSON. Oh, yes, - our detectives have been watching her for the last three weeks. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. They must tell me everything they know, and then you must call them off. TohTPSON. What is your plan MARGARET. It's perfectly straightforward, and if it works at all, it will be very simple. I sup- pose she lives in a flat ToMPSON. Yes, a very ordinary one - con- sidering everything. It seems she's a miser. MARGARET. Good! A weakness to work on. Every little helps! I am going to live in the same house,-as close to her apartment as I can get. TOMPSON. You You can't live there!! MARGARET. Why not TornPsON. It's impossible! The place -the neighborhood! Everything around you will revolt you. MARGARET. Everything around will mean the ir5 II6 THIE WOMAN IN THE CASE same to me-Julian's release! Julian's vindica- tion! I mean to meet this woman, somehow, -and her friends; to copy their manners, to be one of them in spirit, in conversation, in eating, drinking, smoking,-what you like! TomrPsON. [Amazed.] You I I MARGARET. Yes! Yes! Will you men never understand what a woman can undergo for a man she loves! You men endure physical torture for our sakes - that our bodies refuse to support, -but we make it up in what we can endure mentally and spiritually for you! TOMPSON. [Takes her hand and presses it.] You are splendid! [Half shamefacedly, he kisses her hand. MARGARET. No, no! Whatever I am, it is Julian's love and example have made me. [The ATTENDANT enters. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE ATTENDANT. Mr. Tompson [Both turn. ToMPsON. Yes ATTENDANT. There's a lady here got permis- sion to see Mr. Rolfe. I told her he had gone back, but that you were here, and she'd like to come in, all the same. TomPsoN. Ask her name. [The ATTENDANT goes out. MARGARET. [After a pause.] Can it be mother come back TompsoN. You can step behind the door, and I'll keep it open in case it's no one you want to see. ATTENDANT. [Coming back.] Miss Claire Forster. [TOmPsON and MARGARET look at each other in astonishment. 1 17 iI8 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE TomrPSON. Show her in. MARGARET. No! Why TOMPSON. You will see. [MARGARET goes quickly behind the door. TOMPSON stands with his hand on the knob, holding it far back so that MARGARET is com- pletely hidden behind it. The ATTENDANT comes in with CLAIRE. She is a young woman, pretty and slender, of a rather refined appearance -just the opposite of her real nature. The ATTENDANT waits in the doorway. TOMPSON. Miss Claire Forster CLAIRE. [Abruptly.] Yes! Who are you ToMPSON. I am the attorney for Mr. Rolfe. My name is Tompson, of Tompson & Slade. CLAIRE. All right. I want to see Mr. Rolfe. I suppose I'll see quite enough of you at the trial. [Laughing. THE WOMfA N IN THE CASE II9 TomPSON. [With exaggerated politeness.] Let us hope you won't see too much of me! CLAIRE. Impossible! I only wish you were my lawyer! TOm1PSON. [Dryly.] Thanks. CLAIRE. However, the question now is, am I to see Mr. Rolfe, - isn't it ToMPSON. Well, of course Mr. Rolfe would not see you without my permission. CLAIRE. Really TompsoN. Naturally not, as I am in charge of his case. CLAIRE. Well, but I am sure a charming gentle- man like you won't refuse me a small request like that. TOmPSON. Turn about is fair play. Will you favor me CLAIRE. With pleasure! How 120 THE WOMAN IN TIHE CASE TOMPSON. Tell me why you wish to see Mr. Rolfe. CLAIRE. [Going toward him.] What cheek! [A movement on the part of TOMPSON more surely to conceal MARGARET. TOWPSON. Oh, I don't know! [Going to her, and leading her out of the way, to a chair.] He will tell me, if you don't. CLAIRE. I'm not sure! Did he tell you I was coming to see him to-day TOmPSON. [Quickly.] No. CLAIRE. But he knew it! TOMPSON. [Quietly.] Ah! CLAIRE. You don't believe me! TOmPSON. No. CLAIRE. You can't prove he didn't get a letter from me this morning. TOMPSON. Perhaps I couldn't prove it to a THE WOMAN IN THIE CASE prejudiced person, but I think it would be very possible! For myself, of course, I don't need any proof! CLAIRE. I've come for the sake of old days! TompsoN. [Irritated.] Oh, come! CLAIRE. [Emphatically.] I've come for the sake of old days, to tell him how sorry I am to have been the unwilling means of putting him into his present unpleasant position. To1mpsoN. Humph! CLAIRE. I want to tell him how sorry I am about those letters! The very day they were found, I had made up my mind to destroy them! TO1wPSON. Humph!! CLAIRE. That's all I wanted to see him for, - a visit of sympathy, - and to tell him things. TOMPSON. Humph!!! CLAIRE. As a friend! 121 122 THE WOAIAAN IN THE CASE ToMPSON. [Almost beside himself. Rising.] No, by George! Upon my soul, I never heard of such cruel impudence in all my life! CLAIRE. [With baby surprise.] How do you mean TowPSON. You haven't come here privately, have you CLAIRE. No, I tried to keep it quiet, but I couldn't possibly. All the newspapers know of my being here! TOMWPSON. And a nice impression that will make for our case, won't it CLAIRE. I hope it won't do any harm. It's against my will I'm being used so against Julian! TompsoN. Here, don't you call him Julian - not before me, anyway ! Do you know what I've a good mind to do CLAIRE. No. What THIE TVOMA.N IN TIHE CASE 123 TOMPsoN. Let you see Rolfe. It would serve you right. CLAIRE. [Indignantly.] How serve me right! ToMPsoN. You know he'd make it a pretty hot visit for you! But I'm not willing to put him in such a painful position as seeing you. Why, what do you take me for You never expected to see Mr. Rolfe! You've calculated very carefully how what you call a friendly visit from you would tell against him. You give away your whole pose, of the unwilling witness. Veneered on top of your desire to revenge yourself up to the hilt is your love of notoriety, -and here you are satisfying both at the same time! But don't flatter yourself these newspapers who've escorted you here are your friends,-not at all! They're after the "Truth," and when they find you've deceived them into 124 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE thinking it was hidden in your petticoats - Well! You'll get all the notoriety then you want! Only, God help you for the kind it will be! CLAIRE. [Rising.] It's impossible for me to talk to you any longer! You're no gentleman! We don't speak the same language! TOMPSON. No, mine's decent, even when I'm off guard, -and truthful, I hope. CLAIRE. [Looks at him and sneers.] Pooh! Rats! [She goes out, followed by the ATTENDANT. TOMPSON follows her to the doorway, and looks after her. He closes the door, and MARGARET comes forward. MARGARET. [Nervously, holding some paper, a pencil and her cardcase, on which she has been writing.] Quick, let us go! THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE i25 TomPsoN. Not yet. Give her time to get away first. MARGARET. Of course! Here. [She hands him the piece of paper.] I've taken notes of everything she said. They may come in useful! The woman never sent Julian a line! You be- lieve what you said, don't you To1PSON. I do! MARGARET. [Relieved.] Ah! That's better! You've a man to send at once to find out if there's an empty flat in her house TOMPSON. Yes. MARGARET. If there is, I'll take it to-morrow. I mean to worm myself into this woman's confi- dence, somehow. TOMPSON. She is clever! MARGARET. So will I be. She will have more than one weak spot. 1I26 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE TOIEPSON. She drinks! MARGARET. If she drinks enough, she'll never keep her secret! I'll try that. I'll drink with her, - I'll powder and paint and dye my hair. I'll live her life with her, whatever it is. And then, what a reward if, at the end, with you hidden somewhere for a witness, I get the true story from her lips! TOMPSON. [Going to the door.] The coast is clear ! MARGARET. [As they go out.] Good! I can't wait to begin. [She turns, and looks back into the room toward where JULIAN went out.] Julian! I've got my hands on the Woman in your case, and I mean to choke out of her the truth and your freedom before I let her go! THE CURTAIN FALLS ACT III SCENE: MARGARET'S flat in West 52d Street. Two months later. Doors Right and Left. A lace-curtained bow window. Under a big brass chandelier, shaded by a large, flaring red silk shade, is a supper table set for four. The furni- ture is gilt. Imitation palms stand on the radiator and on a white fur rug by the window. There is an upright piano, wi'th popular music on it. Professional photographs are all about. Parti-colored, sporting pennants are crossed be- hind the pictures on the figured wall. The time is IO:45 P.M. [Enter WALTERS, showing in ToMiPSON, with hat and coat. 127 I28 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE Tom'sON. [Who is smoking a cigarette.] So this is it, is it WALTERS. Yes, sir. TOlxSON. [Looking at the supper table.] And everything's ready WALTERS. Yes, sir. TOMIPSON. Do you know what theatre they've gone to WALTERS. [Putting finishing touches to the table.] No, sir. TOMpSON. You're sure Miss Forster's servants are all out. WALTERS. Yes, sir. Her cook's left, and the maid's gone for the night. She don't sleep in the flat. TOMXPSON. [Goes to the bow window and looks out.] Well, I'm sure I couldn't possibly have been seen coming in. How long has the cook downstairs been gone THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 129 WALTERS. I should say as Miss Forster'd been having her meals with us for about a month now. Of course she jumped at the chance to cut expenses. ToMPSON. Yes, that was a very clever idea of Mrs. Rolfe's to work it in that way! But it must be very hard for your mistress! Not even to have her breakfast by herself! WALTERS. Oh, as to that, Miss Forster ain't strong on breakfasts. All the same, it's been a pretty hard job for Mrs. Rolfe, sir. ToxiPsON. And you've done your share splen- didly, Walters. You've proved worthy of every bit of confidence we've placed in you. WALTERS. Thank you, sir. I was a bell-boy in a country hotel when Mrs. Rolfe's family took hold of me, and I couldn't ever repay them for all they've done. Besides, I'm proud to have a hand in helping get Mr. Rolfe free! 130 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE ToMPSON. [Holding out his hand.] Here, Walters! WALTERS. No, thank you, sir; not for that, sir. TomPsoN. What's the matter with you, Wal- ters There's no money in my hand. I want to shake yours, - that's all! WALTERS. Oh! Excuse me, sir! Thank you, sir. [Gives his hand to MR. TOMPSON, who gives it a good, hearty shake. TomIPsoN. So this is the place where she's been playing her heart-rending little comedy! WALTERS. Yes, sir. TOMPSON. [Looking around the room.] Mrs. Rolfe didn't do it up herself, did she WALTERS. Oh, no, sir, - this ain't her taste! This was done by Birdie Lancaster. We've rented it furnished. THE WOMA N IN THE CASE I 31 ToMPSON. I tell you, there's nothing like these musical comedies to help an honest girl earn a living ! WALTERS. [Still arranging the table.] Birdie isn't here this 'Winter. TOMPSON. No WALTERS. No, sir. She's at Nice and Monte Carlo. ToMePSON. Oh! Do we're to hide in WALTERS. Yes, sir. TOMPSON. Tell the man WALTERS. [Looking outside tc Yes, sir. you know which room This door. (Opening door at Right. in.] Hum! All right. o come in. TOMPSON. liams! [Opens the door. [Going to th1e door and calling :1 Wil- [WILLIAMS enters. 132 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE WILLIAMS. Yes, sir. TomcPSON. This is our cozy corner. WILLIAMS. Very good, sir. Shall I go right in ToMPSON. Yes, if you will, please. [WIL- LIAMS goes out. TOmPSON turns to WALTERS.] Who makes the four at supper WALTERS. Miss Forster's young man and Mr. O'Neill. ToMPSON. Hard on Mr. O'Neill! I suppose he's had to chum up a good deal with Miss For- ster's frienad WALTERS. Not very pleasant. Mr. Klauff- sky's not Mr. O'Neill's sort exactly, and Mr. O'Neill's nothing like the actor Mrs. Rolfe is. TOMPSON. You never forget and call her Mrs. Rolfe by mistake WALTERS. Oh, never. Always Mrs. Darcy! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE '33 TOMPSON. They can't get in without ringing WALTERS. No, sir. It's too bad you couldn't manage to put off the trial, sir! It's that's driven Mrs. Rolfe nearly crazy. She keeps say- ing if she only had more time, more time! ToMPSON. We did our best. WALTERS. Still, on the other hand, she's nearly used up, sir! Several times lately she's locked herself up in her room with hysterics. We could hear her way in our part of the flat. TompsoN. Poor woman! Poor, plucky woman! WALTERS. When she found out to-day was Miss Forster's birthday, she had the idea of this party and supper after. She got Mr. O'Neill to get an admission for Mr. Klauffsky, to some private playing club for to-night. Mr. Klauff- sky's a big gambler, and has been crazy to get 134 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE into one of these select, swell joints. After they're once at the table with a lot of champagne opened and everything's started, I'm to come in with a note to Mr. O'Neill. He will have tipped off Klauffsky to get away, too, and they'll both make a break to go. That's the plan. [A bell rings. TOM1PSON puts his cigarette end out on a plate, and leaves it there on the table. TOMPSON. Here they are. Go on. I know the room! [WALTERS goes out Left and TOMPSON Right, after looking around to get his bearings. MARGARET. [Heard outside.] Has Mr. Tomp- son come WALTERS. [Also outside.] Yes, ma'am. MARGARET. [Still speaking outside.] Listen at the door, and warn us when you hear the elevator. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I35 They won't be here for some time yet. [She enters. She is utterly changed. Her hair is dressed in an exaggerated ultra-fashion. She looks hag- gard and pale-and is wearing a very elaborate theatre gown, and a quantity of jewels.] Where are you [Goes to the door to TOMrPSON.1 Come, they aren't with me. [She shakes his hand as he joins her.] I'm so glad you're here. TomFPsoN. My dear, how hot your hand is! MARGARET. And I must be a fright. You've got some one with you For a witness To1rPsON. Yes, -Williams. MARGARET. [Sitting down beside ToMPSON 011 the sofa.] I'm beginning to feel the strain tre- mendously. And to-night! Oh, the suspe,.ce of this night! Will it ever be over, -and yet i dread to have it over, for fear! When I was alone in the carriage just now, I had to break 136 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE down. I couldn't help it! I shall end up in being a regular hysterical woman. But at least I washed off the filthy paint and powder from my face with my tears! [She leans her head on the arm of the sofa and cries. TOMWSON. I'm afraid you're making yourself ill. [He lights a new cigarette. MARGARET. No, no, it's only that I feel to- night is my last chance ! The case comes on to-morrow! I must appear in my true colors; and yet, after these two awful months, I haven't accomplished what I started out to do -what I must accomplish! What I will, to-night! Oh, I feel I shall go raving, stark mad! TOrPSON. But how is it you are back before the others MARGARET. The best luck in the world, my THE WIOSAN IN TIHE CASE '37 dear friend! I wanted so much to see you alone - if only for a minute. I was taken really faint during the third act. Fortunately, even she herself saw it, and advised me to go home, - that the air would pull me up, -put "me on my legs," I think she said! Oh, wait till you hear my vocabulary to-night! Thank Heaven, you won't be able to see me! I'm so ashamed of myself half the time. But the thought of Julian carries me through everything! If I only had more time, more time! TomPsoN. Of course, if the case goes against us, we can appeal. MARGARET. But then this opportunity's gone for good. Oh! [Rising.] I will make that woman talk to-night ! If I can only keep my own head! It's wonderful what I have been able to stand, -in the way of dissipation, I mean. I38 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I, who had no particular scruples about it, but just loathed the taste of alcohol in any way! [She walks up and down, feverishly. TOMrSON. But can't you pretend to drink MARGARET. Perhaps now, but I wouldn't at first. I was so afraid she'd get suspicious. And, ugh, the sickening, beastly hours I've passed with her!! But I'm sure I have her confidence now. TomrPsON. Good! MARGARET. She nearly lives here, you know. And if I only had had the time, I'd have managed that! Though she's the most loathsome thing a decent woman ever came in contact with, yet I share my table with her! - and I'd be willing to share one room, one bed even ! - to get the truth from her! ToMPsoN. She's told you plenty of confidences. It's odd how she always fights shy of this one. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 139 MARGARET. I should say she must have to] I me everything else in her life! And what a life! Oh, Julian, Julian, I'm glad you'll never know what I've been through! And if only it will prove worth while! I've got her several times right up to the subject, like a horse to a fence, - but she balks every time! I feel that she will tell me! I feel that she knows she's going to tell me; that she's afraid she's going to tell me, and doesn't want to! Once or twice, if I'd just pushed the subject a little farther, pressed just one question more, perhaps, she might have told it. And yet I didn't dare, because the very fact of my pressing her might have roused her suspicions. I've schooled myself not to show the slightest atom of curiosity about the affair. ToMPsoN. Hard! Very hard! 140 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. But she starts the subject herself, apropos of some new evidence or theory in a paper, perhaps. I look bored. I am only afraid she will hear my heart beat - it sounds like a cannonading to me! Fifty questions rush to my lips, but I bite them back! I make a weak effort to change the conversation, - weak enough not to really change it, but not strong enough to arouse a grain of suspicion in her sharp, ugly little nature! But so far, nothing done, nothing accomplished! TOMnPSON. Don't be discouraged. You have to-night, and it is your best chance yet! MARGARET. Has Walters told you the scheme TOMPSON. Yes. How did you happen to take in Jimmy O'Neiil MARC ARET. Well, I had to have some man to pretend to be flirting with, and to have in hand THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I41 always. I'd known Jimmy a long time, -knew how faithful and trustworthy he was! Look what a devoted creature he's always been to Elsie Brewster,-who treats him really dis- gracefully! He was especially devoted to Ju- lian, - looked on him as a sort of older brother, - so he seemed to me the best to choose. TOMPSON. Walters seems to have done his part well. MARGARET. Oh, he's been splendid! Such a help, and never once forgot, though even I do! TomrsON. Forgot what MARGARET. Oh, my mask! The other day, it was funny, I forgot all my acquired vulgarity for a moment, and was speaking quite naturally, just being myself. She began to laugh. ToMPSON. Why 142 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. That's it! What do you think she said [Laughing.] "Stop putting on such airs with me, old girl! You are the most affected old thing sometimes, as if you were trying to make me believe you were a real lady !" [Enter WALTERS quickly and softly. WALTERS. [Under his breath.] The elevator's coming up! [TOMPSON rises. All half whisper. MARGARET. How can it be they're so soon! [To WALTERS.] Have you the note for Mr. O'Neill WALTERS. Yes, ma'am. MARGARET. [To TomPSON.] Your cigarette smoke. She might smell it and be suspicious. ToMPsoN. What a damn shame. [Throws his cigarette into the grate. MARGARET. Never mind! Give me one! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 143 No! She might notice by some chance it wasn't one of our own. [WALTERS hands her the box from the table. She takes one. TOMPSON. But can you [Handing her a lighted match. MARGARET. Oh, my dear man! I don't care about it, but if only it was all as easy as this! [Lights her cigarette. Bell rings. WALTERS. [To TOMPSON.] Lock the door, sir, to be sure. [TompsoN goes out Right, and locks the door after him. WALTERS goes out Left. MAR- GARET, With a hasty look about her, rearranges ToMPsON's chair, and goes out Right. CLAIRE. [Heard outside.] Well, Walters. Look out! Don't walk all over my dress with your great feet! How is Mrs. Darcy 144 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE WALTERS. She seems all right. CLAIRE. I said all she needed was air, and to get away from that rotten show. KLAUFFSKY. [Who speaks with a slight German accent. Off stage.] Right you are! And there wasn't a single pretty girl on the stage. The theatre's no good since the highbrow took to the business. [Enter CLAIRE, calling "Belle," followed by KLAUTFFSKY and O'NEILL. CLAIRE is very over-dressed for the theatre, and wears a huge picture hat. CLAIRE. Belle! MARGARET. [Calling out from her room.] Yep! [Her voice, her manner, everything about her, is different-common and loud. CLAIRE. [Closing the shutters.] Stop doing yourself up. We're starved. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 145 MARGARET. Oh, shut up! I'm getting into something comfy. Begin without me! CLAIRE. [To O'NEILL.] Go on, you know her room. Bring her out! I'm going to take off my theatre hat, and be comfy, too. [She stands before the mantel and removes her hat. O'NEILL goes to MARGARET'S door and knocks. CLAIRE. Hear him knock! MARGARET. Who is it O'NEILL. Jimmy. MARGARET. Well, Jimmy, you go away from there! If you want to know what's good for you, you just make tracks. CLAIRE. [Sitting down at the table. In a loud voice.] I dare him to go in! O'NEILL. What I won't take a dare! [Turns the knob, but with really no intention of going in. 146 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. [To KLAUFFSKY.] Sit down, Louis. [He sits beside her. MARGARET. You come one step into this room, Jimmy, and I swear I'll kick you out! O'NEILL. Hah -and she would, too! No, thanks! MARGARET. I'll come out when I'm darned good and ready. O'NEILL. Right you are, Mrs. Darcy! KLAUFFSKY. [Pretending to rise from his chair. To CLAIRE.] Do you dare me to go CLAIRE. No, I don't! [Pulling him down into his place.] You're entirely too free with Belle, as it is. It's only that I trust her, or I'd make a damn row! KLAUFFSKY. I'd like to see you! You must be hot stuff ! CLAIRE. Yes, you wouldn't want to see me THE WOMAN IN THE CASE twice! I say - what's she doing anyway! Coming home pretending to be sick! I don't believe she was sick at all! Don't believe she came home alone ! Jimmy! She's going back on you. [She finds ToMPSON's cigarette end on the plate.] Yep! I knew it; here's a cigarette end, and not one of ours! [She holds up the cigarette. O'NEILL. Nonsense! CLAIRE. Nonsense yourself! Where is he He can't have gone. She expected us to stay through the rest of the opera, but we weren't ten minutes after her. Aha! [She is amused, thoroughly enjoying it.] That's why she wouldn't come out. She's hiding a man in there. This is a scream! [Calls.] Belle! We've caught you! It's no use! Come on, bring him out! MARGARET. [From her room.] I don't know what you're talking about. 147 148 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. Well, I'll show you. [To O'NEILL.I Come along! There's only two rooms he can hide in, unless he's gone into the kitchen. I'll go into her room, if you won't, and you look into the next one. Belle, you're caught! [She goes to MARGARET's room. Inside, the two women are heard, CLAIRE laughing and saying, "Where is he Come along out with him! Jimmy's looking in the next room," etc., MARGARET denying it. The two women are heard laughing and talking, but not distinctly, through the following speeches between the two men. O'NEILL had gone to door, Right; he tries it; it is locked. KLAUFF- SKY is watching. KLAUFFSKY. [Rising.] By George, it's locked! She has got some one! O'NEILL. The locked door don't prove it! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I49 KLAUFFSKY. What'll you bet. O'NEILL. [Going quickly to him.] Say, Klauff- sky! KLAUFFSKY. Look here, don't you mind. They're all like that! Let's teach 'em both a lesson! [He makes a movement toward the door. O'NEILL. No! Listen, I say, - don't let on we know. See KLATJFFSKY. What the hell- O'NEILL. [Interrupting.] No, I don't like a row! This is my business, and I want to see it through my own way - with your permission! KLAUFFSKY. All right, all right! O'NEILL. You want to play to-night, don't you KLAUFFSKY. Bet your life! O'NEILL. Well, we'll carry out our original plan, and to-morrow I'll call around and have I 50 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE it out with Mrs. - er - Darcy, quietly, by our- selves. I don't want to be made a fool of before Miss Forster. KLAUFFSKY. I'm wise! Guess you're right! CLAIRE. [Coming back.] No luck for me! How about you O'NEILL. Nothing! CLAIRE. Well! I'm not satisfied, all the same. [Enter WALTERS, With a cold chicken and a salad.] Thank the Lord, here comesfood! Oh, I say, Walters, -what gentleman's been here this evening WALTERS. [Stares at her blankly. Then, after a moment, he says:] Nobody that I've seen,- and I've been in all the evening. CLAIRE. Well then, what's the meaning of this cigarette end on the plate Are cigarette stumps on the bill of fare [Laughing. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE I1t WALTERS. [Looking.] Oh, [after a pause] I'm very sorry! I don't know how I ever came to do it, but there's no use denying it, because they're my cigarettes! CLAIRE. Well, you are a dirty, cheeky devil, smoking here in the parlor! And you wouldn't do it twice, if you were my servant, I can tell you that ! [WALTERS goes out as MARGARET enters, hav- ing changed to a "tea gown." She is very much painted, rouged, etc. MARGARET. Now, I feel much better! [She joins CLAIRE and KLAUFFSKY at the table. CLAIRE. The trouble with you is you wear your corsets too tight! [She laughs and looks at the men, as if she'd said something clever. MARGARET. [Laughs.] Oh, come off, old girl, I52 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE - and anyway I have to do something to have any show up against a beautiful figure like you! [WALTERS enters with a magnum of champagne in a cooler, which he puts near the table, and goes out. CLAIRE. [To KLAUFFSKY.] What do you think of that for a lady friend! She and Jimmy here are the first two non-jealous people I've ever struck. MARGARET. Why lug in Jimmy CLAIRE. Why, I believe you've got a man around here, somewhere, and he don't care a hang. MARGARET. Because he knows it isn't true. CLAIRE. Perhaps not. KLAUFFSKY. [To CLAIRE.] What's the odds anyway, old girl. It's not your funeral ! THE 1VOAMAN IN THE CASE 153 CLAIRE. Hello! The party on my right has waked up! [WALTERS brings in another bottle of cham- pagne, and puts it in the ice. MARGARET. That's all, Walters. You needn't wait. [WALTERS goes out.] Come now, let's have a toast! Break open that magnum, Jimmy, and drink the health and many happy returns - CLAIRE. [Interrupting.] Hold on, not too many returns! In about two more years I'm not going to have any more of these bir thday returns coming in! Celebrate - but no ques- tions asked ! [Jimmy opens and pours out the champagne. MARGARET. Go on, Klauff - spiel! KLAUFFSKY. To the beautiful and sweet tempered little girl beside me-who eats up a lot of money, but who's cheap at the price! 154 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Hear, hear!! O'NEILL. Hear, hear! [Together. CLAIRE. Oh! KLAUFFSKY. [To CLAIRE.] The best little - [He stops. ALL. What CLAIRE. Angel! KLAUFFSKY. Ahem! Here goes, anyway. And the man who empties his glass first, gets a kiss. Hoch! [They all clink glasses and drink, MARGARET echoing the "Hoch." KLAUFFSKY is through first.] Give us a kiss! CLAIRE. Go on! What do you take me for, before Mr. O'Neill. [Kisses her hand, and slaps his face with it. All laugh. CLAIRE. Go on, Belle. Give Jimmy one like that ! THlE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Shall I '55 [Kisses her hand to slap him. O'NEILL. No! [Enter WALTERS. CLAIRE. Hello! More food! You're doing the grand thing, Belle! WALTERS. A note for Mr. O'Neill. [Gizing it. O'NEILL. I say, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I know what this is! Yes, I tried to put off a business engagement; but, you see you didn't give me enough warning about the party, and I'll have to go! KLAUFFSKY. It isn't that little New Orleans affair that I'm in, is it O'NEILL. Yes, that's just what it is. [Rising. KLAUFFSKY. Well, that is damn bad luck. [Rising.] It takes me, too! l156 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. Oh, come, that's too thin! Business at this time of day! MARGARET. True, for a fact, Claire. Don't let's let 'em go! O'NEILL. [To WALTERS.] They didn't wait for an answer WALTERS. No, they said you were expected around. There was no answer. O'NEILL. All right. [WALTERS goes out. CLAIRE. [To MARGARET.] Funny, I didn't hear the bell ring. Did you MARGARET. Yes. Just when we were drinking. KLAUFFSKY. Awfully sorry, old girl. CLAIRE. You're not really going KLAUFFSKY. Have to. Business is business! CLAIRE. Oh, business be -. I don't believe you a minute! You've got something else on. THlE WOMAN IN THlE CASE That's why you're breaking up our party. If you go, Louis, I'll never speak to you again' So long as I live! KLAUFFSKY. Please yourself. Have you got a pen anywhere [Taking a check-book from his pocket. CLAIRE. What you got there KLAUFFSKY. Check-book. Don't you rec- ognize it [He takes out a fountain pen and writes. CLAIRE winks at MARGARET. O'NEILL. [To MARGARET.] Good-by, Belle. Honest, I have to go! CLAIRE. Oh, come off, Mr. O'Neill! MARGARET. Yes! All right for you, Jimmy! Come along, one more drink, anyway! O'NEILL. See you there! [He fills the glasses with champagne. 157 158 THlE WOMAN IN TIHE CASE MARGARET. [Stopping him. Aside.] Open the other bottle! [He does so, and fills the glasses again. KLAUFFSKY. [To CLAIRE, handing her the check.] Suppose you don't object to a little birthday present! CLAIRE. [Looking at it.] I say, Louis, you are a brick! This will pull me out of a hole. KLAUFFSKY. [Lifting his glass.] Well, here's luck! CLAIRE. All the same, I don't take any stock in this midnight business or trip. [All drink, except MARGARET, who manages to empty her glass into the flowers in the centre of the table. All say good-by. MARGARET and O'NEILL exchange looks, as KLAUFFSKY goes to CLAIRE. CLAIRE. You're a nasty old pig to shake us, all the same! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 159 KLAUFFSKY. How about to-morrow CLAIRE. I'll be busy all day to-morrow. Julian Rolfe's trial begins. KLAUFFSKY. I meant dinner CLAIRE. Oh, all right! KLAUFFSKY. (To O'NEILL, who stands in the doorway.] Will you bring Mrs. Darcy, O'Neill MARGARET. [Quickly.] No! I'm going to rest up to-morrow night, and try to get well. CLAIRE. Don't you believe her. She's got a date with her friend of this evening! O'NEILL. Oh, I guess I can take Belle's word! [Goes out. CLAIRE. My goodness! There's a good ex- ample for you, Louis! KLAUFFSKY. Not on your life! Call for you at seven. Ta, ta, baby! [Goes out. i6o THE IVOMAAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. Louis, you're not going to leave me like that! [Follows him out. MARGARET. [To JImm-Y.] You won't let him come back O'NEILL. Trust me! Good luck! MARGARET. [Almost breaking down.] Jimmy, it's my last chance. If I fail -! O'NEILL. You won't. Keep up your courage. CLAIRE. [Reentering.] I hate Louis' tobacco! O'NEILL. Good-by. CLAIRE. Good-by. [O'NEILL goes out.] Humph! They've gone out to have a good time on their own, I'll bet you. MARGARET. Oh, well, what's the dif., old girl. We've got each other and a good supper! Come along, let's enjoy ourselves. CLAIRE. [Sits again at the table.] No, just THE WVOQA N IN TIHE CASE give me some more wine. They've taken my appetite along with 'em. [Holds her glass. MARGARET fills it with champagne. MARGARET. I don't wonder Klauff's stuck on you, Claire. You look awfully well to-night. CLAIRE. Is that why you hung back in the box all the time MARGARET. Yes - I looked like your mother. CLAIRE. [Laughs.] You did look pretty seedy. I guess you can't stand my pace, Belle. I notice every little while you seem to shy at something! MARGARET. Well, you know I think you're a wonder! You knock any other girl I ever knew out o' sight. [Lights a cigarette and takes two or three puffs. CLAIRE. What selfish beasts men are! My goodness! - and they're all alike ! I never 161 l62 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE knew really but one man who loved me more than himself! But there was one! MARGARET. [After a minute.] Philip Long CLAIRE. Yep! Philip Long! At one time he'd have given up everything for me. Huh! [A short pause. MARGARET waits.] Do you blame me for hating the man who turned him against me MARGARET. No, I don't. [She changes to KLAUFFSKY'S seat very quickly, sliding into it without really rising. She waits for CLAIRE to go on. CLAIRE sits looking into space and ahead of her. After a minute:] No, I don't blame you at all. [She fills CLAIRE'S glass. She waits. CLAIRE doesn't speak.] I'd hate him in your place ! [A shorter pause. CLAIRE doesn't speak.] Go on, drink your champagne, dear, and let's have a good talk ! [Pushing CLAIRE'S glass towards her. THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE 163 CLAIRE. I like you! You're so sympathetic, and you aren't always wanting to talk about yourself! [She drinks.] Oh, the lies about men some girls can sit down and make up by the hour! -and think you're ninny enough to be- lieve them! [She notices MARGARET didn't drink.] Say, you aren't drinking; go on, fill up! It'll do your head good! [She fills MARGARET'S and her glasses. She drinks some, and MARGARET pretends to. MARGARET. No, indeed, -in your place I wouldn't ever forgive - this other man - what's his name CLAIRE. Rolfe - Julian Rolfe. You bet I don't! Don't you worry about my forgiving him, either ! [MARGARET grows more tense, puts out her cigarette, and leans a little nearer to CLAIRE. 164 TIE WOM11AN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. Say, Belle, I've told you pretty nearly everything about myself. Suppose you take a turn now! MARGARET. Oh, my life's so dull after yours! I'd rather hear you. CLAIRE. Well, I've only got one story in my brain, to-night, and that I'd better not talk about! Are you always attracted by such young fellows as Jimmy O'Neill MARGARET. Why, yes, -I mean, I don't know, - I suppose so. CLAIRE. Where did you come across him, anyway MARGARET. He's engaged to a lady friend of mine. CLAIRE. [Laughs.] That's pretty good! I guess she won't consider you such a friend, when she hears you've taken him away from THE WOMAN IN TIHE CASE i65 her. Don't you dare treat me that way with Klauffsky. MARGARET. No fear. CLAIRE. Have you ever been really in love MARGARET. YOU mean really, so I didn't care if he had a cent or anything ! CLAIRE. Yep! MARGARET. Yes, once. CLAIRE. Really Crazy about him You've always seemed to me the cold sort! Go on, tell me about it. MARGARET. I lived with him till about three weeks before I met you. CLAIRE. Oh, I see; and that's what's the matter with you, now. You haven't got over it yet! Did you have a row What's the matter MARGARET. Well, we're separated. But I hope we'll come together again. i66 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. Don't you do it! Don't you be too soft-hearted! If he's left you once, he'd more'n likely do it again. Was it another woman MARGARET. [Very slowly.] Yes - it was - another woman - who separated us. CLAIRE. Thought so! MARGARET. Well, you hit it all right! CLAIRE. I'll bet you hate her! MARGARET. I do. CLAIRE. Yes, you look it! I wouldn't want to have you look at me that way. MARGARET. I hate her like you hate this man who kept Long from marrying you! CLAIRE. I wonder! The man you love isn't dead. MARGARET. Yes, but still - Claire, you've never told me. Do you believe Long was murdered THE WOMAN IN TIE CASE x67 CLAIRE. [Looking at her, after a moment.] Yes, I believe he was murdered / [A flash of disappointment passes over MAR- GARET'S face; to hide it, she rises, and puts her arm around CLAIRE'S shoulder and her head against CLAIRE'S head. MARGARET. Well, it was awfully hard for you, either way, and I'm sorrier'n I can say for you, old girl. CLAIRE. You haven't finished your wine. Drink it up, and we'll have another! [MAR- GARET is obliged to drink it.] Good Heavens, the amount of this stuff Philip would get the best of! Never knew anything like it! [She fills their glasses. MARGARET. Really CLAIRE. Here's to his memory, and good luck to our side, to-morrow! [She drinks; I68 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET tries to drink, but the glass falls, spills and breaks.] What's the matter MARGARET. I struck my hand on your chair. The d-d glass dropped. I'm nervous, to-night. I'm not well. Fill me Klauffsky's glass. [Pushing it towards CLAIRE, who fills it. MAR- GARET drinks some. CLAIRE. Klauff sky isn't going to have his legs pulled in his sleep. [MARGARET has come around, and sits at CLAIRE'S feet. MARGARET. Claire! Do you know what I wish you'd do, old girl Give up your flat, and come here and stay. CLAIRE. Oh, I don't think I ought to do that! MARGARET. Yes, do! I want you to, -no bluff; come on! You might as well save that money. THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE I69 CLAIRE. My goodness, it's awfully good of you, Belle, I must say! MARGARET. Oh, that's all right. I get so lonely sometimes. I won't charge you a cent of rent. CLAIRE. Well, if you really mean it, I suppose I could. My month's up next week. MARGARET. Good! [Rising.] Then we'll con- sider it settled. CLAIRE. How big is that other bedroom. Let's see. [She makes a movement toward the door. MARGARET. [Stops her.] No, darling, - I don't want you to see it now; not till I get it all ready for you. I'll surprise you with it, you'll see! CLAIRE. All right! [MARGARET sinks into O'NEILL'S chair at the table. 170 THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Good gracious, I wish we were in our wrappers, don't you You'll see it will be ever so much nicer when you come here and live! CLAIRE. Do you know, you're the nicest girl I ever met! Phil would have liked you! MARGARET. [ Trying to look indsifferent.] Would he CLAIRE. Yep. MARGARET. Why CLAIRE. Oh, you couldn't be too lady-like for Phil. Why, he even thought I was vulgar sometimes! MARGARET. [Moves about; she is too nervous to keep quiet.] Still, that didn't keep him from wanting to marry you, did it CLAIRE. My dear, he was so ready to marry me that it's my own fault I didn't do it before that brute got a chance to break it up ! THE WOMA N IN THE CASE I 7r MARGARET. [Seating herself again.] Really CLAIRE. And that makes me hate him all the more. MARGARET. How do you mean CLAIRE. Why, that I've only got myself to thank! MARGARET. But, my dear girl, what I don't understand is how, when he was so in love with you, and you're so pretty and attractive and dear, - I don't see how he ever was persuaded to give you up. CLAIRE. I guess you didn't follow the case very close when it first come out! MARGARET. No. [She rises again. CLAIRE. I say, am I keeping you up Do you want to go to bed MARGARET. Not on your life! I don't want to go to bed for hours! I couldn't sleep a wink! 172 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. It's funny you weren't interested in my case. Why, nobody talked about anything else for a week! MARGARET. You see, I had my own troubles then, and I didn't care much about anybody else's. Tell me something about it. [Coming to CLAIRE, and leaning on the back of her chair. CLAIRE. Why, I've told you lots! MARGARET. [Very innocently.] No, dear, you haven't. Why didn't he marry you, if he was ready to CLAIRE. Well, you see, Rolfe told a lot of lies about me, and prejudiced him in that way! MARGARET. But I can't help thinking Long was a weak fellow to be persuaded by another man against you, dear. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 173 CLAIRE. Here, don't you run down Phil! I won't stand it! He proved at the end he loved me, if any fellow ever did! MARGARET. [After a pause.] How [Slyly shoving the bottle of champagne toward her. CLAIRE. Oh, that's another story. MARGARET. Go on, tell me. You know, everything about you's so interesting! CLAIRE. Think so MARGARET. Yes. Why, I think you're per- fectly wonderful! You know, you could write a great novel! You've got real genius the way you tell your stories. I'd rather listen to you than read, or go to a play, - really! Go on, and tell me some more! [MARGARET shoves the bottle a little closer to- ward CLAIRE, who at last sees it. She takes up the bottle. 174 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. Have some more - or had enough MARGARET. Oh, mercy, not yet! [Handing her a glass. Both drink. CLAIRE. I like you, Belle! [She is beginning to show the effects of the cham- pagne. MARGARET. Go on, like a dear old duck! CLAIRE. Where's Walters MARGARET. Gone to bed, of course, like a good servant. CLAIRE. Sneaked out, more likely. [Looks around at the door to see if it is closed. A moment's pause. MARGARET. Why didn't you marry Long when you had the chance CLAIRE. Because I didn't want to do any- thing on the side! I wanted to wait and do the thing up in style, with a Church wedding and his THE WO.AN lIN THE CASE 175 folks on hand. You know, I've always had an idea I'd kind o' like to get into Society. MARGARET. Yes CLAIRE. The first time Rolfe got his hand in, I brought Philip round again. It was the very morning of the same night when it all happened. MARGARET. Yes. CLAIRE. Then he had a foolish idea of con- fronting Rolfe with me, to make me disprove all he'd said against me! So he brought us to- gether at Phil's flat. Of course, if I'd had any idea of it, I wouldn't have had it for a minute. [A nother pause. MARGARET. Yes CLAIRE. Look here, I can trust you, Belle! I'm talking very free with you. Honest, you'll never tell what I am telling you I can trust you, Belle 1I76 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. Why, Claire! How can you ask me that! Don't you know me yet [She pours out more champagne, and both drink. CLAIRE. Yes, I like you. MARGARET. Go on, dear, -it's just like an exciting novel. CLAIRE. Well, you see, Rolfe accused me of everything under the sun to Phil, - right be- fore me. It doesn't make any difference whether it was true or not, it was a low-down trick I MARGARET. [Emphatically.] Yes, a dirty, low-down trick! CLAIRE. Yes. And finally I got mad, and let out and told him so. But he'd got Philip dead against me by that time. MARGARET. UMr! [Making an almost invisible movement nearer. THE WVOMAN IN THE CASE 177 CLAIRE. Yes, and would you believe it, Belle, he got him to swear there and then he'd never marry me, so help him God! MARGARET. No! CLAIRE. Yes / I [Then, almost crying, very much under the influence of the wine, now :] What do you think of that MARGARET. I think it was rotten of him! CLAIRE. [Suddenly, angrily.] But I'll make him pay for it! I'll make him pay for it I MARGARET. [Excitedly, as if in perfect sym- pathy.] Yes! Make him pay good! Make him pay good! CLAIRE. [With a slight reaction in her manner, looking at MARGARET.] Trust Claire Forster for that ! MARGARET. But couldn't you have made Phil break his promise 178 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE CLAIRE. I don't believe so. He never broke a promise. When once he gave his word of honor about anything, you couldn't budge him! He was queer that way! MARGARET. [Leaning over nearer.] What did you do then CLAIRE. When MARGARET. When he gave his word there in his room! CLAIRE. Oh, I threw my arms around Philip, and begged him to take it back. MARGARET. What did he say CLAIRE. He just turned around and asked Rolfe to leave us alone a minute. MARGARET. And did he CLAIRE. [After a short pause.] Yes. [Another pause. MARGARET. And then what THE WOMAN IN THIE CASE 179 CLAIRE. I asked Phil if he meant what he'd said, and he answered "Yes!" Oh, but I w-as mad! Think what that meant to me! I told him I wished I'd never seen him; that he didn't love me and he never had loved me! I wish I hadn't said it, now. I don't know as it would have made any difference, all the same. MARGARET. [Breathlessly.] Why CLAIRE. Because he stood up and faced me. I walked to the other side of the room, and was so mad at him! But he looked at me across the table and said - I can hear him now! - I hear him every night! - every time I shut my eyes I hear and see him - MARGARET. [IVith every muscle tense and strained.] How CLAIRE. [Forgetting MARGARET.J "I love you so much," he said, "that, if I can't marry you, I I80 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE won't live without you." Oh, I can see him now! [Putting her hands over her eves. MARGARET. [Leaning over and whispering, close to her:] Yes CLAIRE. I saw his hand go behind his back, but I didn't dream! "My life's rotten anyway," he said, "and I'm going to end it !" MARGARET. [A cry almost escaping from her.] No I [She half rises in her seat. CLAIRE. [Not hearing her or realizing; more to herself than to MARGARET; in a sodden, half- dead voice :] And before I could get at him across the room, he'd shot himself! MARGARET. [Containing herself with a supreme effort, whispers tremblingly :] Philip Long shot himself CLAIRE. Yes, shot himself right there before - MARGARET. [Losing all control, and letting THE WOMAN IN THE CASE herself go altogether, springs upon CLAIRE, clutching her with both hands by her shoulders, and screams:] Yzou Fiend! CLAIRE. [Frightened, but not able to take it all in at once.] What MARGARET. I am his wife! Do you under- stand His wife! Julian Rolfe's wife! Julian -Rolfe's - wife! CLAIRE. [Dazed.] What do you mean MARGARET. [Still gripping CLAIRE with all her force.] And he's free! Do you hear me, free! ! Thanks to you! You! I've lived day and night with you; I've lied to you, and cheated you! I've sat and wallowed in the gutter with you! But it was all for Julian! Do you hear me Mr. Tompson! Mr. Tompson! TomnPsoN. [Unlocking the door, comes out, fol- lowed by the INSPECTOR.] Bravo, Mrs. Rolfe! i8i 182 THE VOAIfAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. [Hysterically.] Did you hear Did you hear Oh! TompsoN. Everything! MARGARET. [.f ore hysterically.] Every word To-wsoN. Every word ! MARGARET. Julian! Jul- [Her voice breaks, and she drops in a dead faint. [To)PsoN rushes to her. CLAIRE sits, staring ahead of her, struck dumb with despair and fear. THE CURTAIN FALLS ACT IV SCENE: At the ROLFES'. MARGARET'S room. It is simply furnished, but with great taste. The walls are it pink and white stripes. There are pink and white chintz curtains, and a white bed. The time is morning. [MRS. HUGHES is discovered in an armn-chair, her head resting on her hand. There is a tap at the door. She goes softly and opens it. It is JULIAN. MRS. HUGHES puts her finger to her lips. TI ey both speak in whispers. MRS. HUGHES. Shh! -not yet! She's just fallen asleep! JULIAN. May I look I83 I84 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MRS. HUGHES. Yes. But no noise! [JULIAN tiptoes a few steps in, and stands look- ing at MARGARET. MRS. HUGHES. [Going to him, puts her hand on his shoulder.] Come! -or she might feel you in the room, and wake! I'll send for you the moment she does, but let her have the sleep now. She needs all she can get, to give her strength to see you. JULIAN. When she was awake early this morn- ing, her mind was still clear MRS. HUGHES. Perfectly!-as yours; clearer than my foolish old mind ever is! JULIAN. She asked for me AIRS. HUGHES. Yes! JULIAN. What did you tell her MRS. HUGHES. That she should see you to- day. THE W1'OMAN IN THE CASE I85 JULIAN. Why didn't you send for me then MRS. HUGHES. The doctor said not to, - not till she'd taken some nourishment. Remem- ber how weak she is. It's only a day since the fever broke. And think what a strain on her poor, exhausted self,-the joy of seeing you again! JULIAN. She knows I am free since yesterday MRS. HUGHES. Yes. JULIAN. Did she ask about the trial MRS. HUGHES. I wouldn't let her talk about that. I said you were free and she would see you to-day. JULIAN. I want her to know it was she who did it! She herself! MRS. HUGHES. Believe me, Julian, she only cares that you are free, and here with your love to help her to get well. i86 THE lVOMAN IN THE CASE JULIAN. Well, I'll go to my room now. But send for me the moment she wakes, won't you - the moment you can! MRS. HUGHES. Yes, yes, my dear boy - yes! [JULIAN exits Left. MRS. HUGHES goes softly toward the bed to see if MARGARET has been disturbed. She is sleeping quietly. As MRS. HUGHES goes back to her chair, a soft tap is heard on the door. She goes to it and opens it. WALTERS hands her a box, which con- tains a bunch of violets. WALTERS. From Mr. Tompson, - and Miss Brewster is here. May she come in MRS. HUGHES. Yes. [WALTERS disappears, and ELSIE immediately enters. MRS. HUGHES kisses ELSIE, and closes the door behind her. She whispers :] She's asleep. ELSIE. Has she had a good night THIE IVOl AN IN THIE CASE 187 MRS. HUGHES. Splendid! Both nurse and I had a good nap ourselves. ELSIE. And Julian! He came home last night MRS. HUGHES. Yes, but the doctor wouldn't let him in her room. ELSIE. She hasn't seen him MRS. HUGHES. Not yet. We're so afraid of the excitement. ELSIE. But she knows he's free MRS. HUGHES. Oh, yes! Only, she is not to hear any details until she is well. ELSIE. My night's rest has refreshed me wonderfully. You go now and lie down, and let me watch. MRS. HUGHES. NO, I'm not tired, and I promised to send for Julian the moment she wakes up. [She opens the box of flowers. i88 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE ELSIE. I'll go for Julian, and send him, so as not to be here when they meet. What lovely violets ! MRS. HUGHES. [Reads the card.] "In grati- tude that the best and pluckiest assistant I ever had has turned the corner at last toward recovery. Affectionately, George Tompson." ELSIE. What a nice message! I want to tell you something! I'm announcing my engage- ment to J'mmy O'Neill to-day. MRS. HUGHES. Really! I am glad! ELSIE. Yes, you know when I heard what he'd done to help Margaret, I caved right in, but I didn't want to have any celebration till Mr. Rolfe was free. So we're announcing it to-day. And I tell Jimmy, with such a clever detective as he around all the time, I won't ever dare to even look at another man! THE IVOJIAN IN THE CASE [Laughs gently. MARGARET wakes, turns, and slightly lifts her head, but they do not observe her. Through the rest of the scene she fol- lows all they say with suppressed emotion, - keeping herself still, lest they should find out she is awake and stop talking, but mozing and reflecting in her face all that what they say means to her. MRS. HUGHES. Did Jimmy tell you anything about yesterday afternoon at the trial ELSIE. Yes. He said there was a wonderful scene in court. MRS. HUGHES. Do tell me about it! I didn't like to ask Julian. ELSIE. Well, of course the whole thing was a foregone conclusion, after Mr. Tompson's cross- examination of the Forster woman. But, all the same. until the verdict was actually given, I89 I90 TIlE WOMA N IN THE CASE there was still a certain sort of uncertainty; nobody knew what mightn't turn up! MRS. HUGHES. What a bold fight she made! ELSIE. Yes. You see, with Margaret ill and unable to appear, she thought she had a chance. That's why the case went as far as it did -with her ridiculous tale that she knew Margaret all the time -and only wanted to draw her out! MRS. HUGHES. She reckoned without Mr. Tompson! ELSIE. Exactly! Well, yesterday, it seems, their side took three hours to sum up. People were furious! And Mr. Tompson spoke only ten minutes! MRS. HUGHES. Was that enough ELSIE. [Still whispering.] Well, it seems so!!! There was enormous applause when he'd finished THE WV'OMAN IN THE CASE rgr -which Judge Carey stopped. Then the Judge's address to the jury lasted barely five minutes! And the jury came back, almost before they all got out! Then, when Julian stood up, looking so calm, so true, so utterly incapable of ever having done this thing! - Jimmy says, nearly everyone's eyes were wet. [MARGARET wipes away the tears that are falling from hers. MRS. HUGHES also.] But -after the verdict!! Such shouts! Such cheers! The Judge didn't try to stop it! Everyone wanting to shake his hand, and one woman kissed him. MARGARET. [In a clear voice.] What woman [Both turn in amazement. ELSIE. Margaret! MRS. HUGHES. [Going to her.] When did you wake up, dear MARGARET. Oh, long ago! I've heard every 192 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE word. Oh, what I'd have given to have been there! There'd have been two women kiss him, then ! MRS. HUGHES. My darling, why did you let us go on MARGARET. It hasn't done me any harm, mother. See how calm I am. I've had a nice little sleep,-quite enough! MRS. HUGHES. Elsie has helped nurse you every day, Margaret. I'm sure you want to thank her. MARGARET. [Holds out a slender hand.] Oh, yes! Elsie, come here. [ELSIE goes to her, and takes her hand, which MARGARET holds tight.] Thank you, dear girl. ELSIE. I'm announcing my engagement to Jimmy O'Neill to-day. MARGARET. Are you! That's splendid! THE WOMAN IN THE CASE ELSIE. Yes, - wasn't he fine MARGARET. He was dear! I wish you all the happiness I know you'll have. ELSIE. Thank you. MARGARET. Mother, now I want to see Julian! ELSIE. I will send him. [She goes out. MRS. HUGHES. [Gives MARGARET the violets.] From Mr. Tompson, with this message. [Reading the card. MARGARET. They're lovely. [Smiles over the card.] Dear Mr. Tompson! Mother dear - [She hesitates. MRS. HUGHES. Yes MARGARET. You won't feel hurt, will you, dearest, - but I want to see Julian alone. MRS. HUGHES. Of course, my dear Margaret, I understand perfectly! I'm going. I93 1I94 THE WOMAN IN THE CASE MARGARET. [Taking her hand.] How good you've been. You're all worn out - dear mother! MRS. HUGHES. Not at all worn out! It's a joy to your foolish old mother to think she has been able to do something for you! Now, rest a minute till he comes. [She smooths MARGARET'S pillow, and then leaves the room. MARGARET closes her eyes. There is a moment's pause. The door opens; it is JULIAN. JULIAN. Margaret! [He goes to her. MARGARET. [Trying to lift herself on her elbow.] Don't say anything, Julian. To talk to you would be more joy than I feel I can bear just now. JULIAN. Margaret! [He sits on the bed beside her, putting his arm around her. MARGARET. Just lift me up in your arms - THE IWOMAN IN THlE CASE '95 so - and let my head rest on your shoulder - yes, like that! [He kisses her tenderly. MARGARET. [Smiling up into his face.] Oh, how quickly I shall get well, now! THE CURTAIN FALLS This page in the original text is blank. THE TRUTH A PLAY ZN FOUR ACTS COPYRIGHT, 1907, By LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This play is fully protected by the copyright Iw, all requirements of which have been complied with. In its present printed form it is dedi- catcd tot the reading public only, and no performance of it, either pro- fessional or amateur, may be given without the written permission of the owner of the acting rights, who may be addressed in care of the publishers, Little, Brown, and Company. TO MARIE TEMPEST WITH GRATEFUL ADMIRATION FOR HER TRIUMPHANT BECKY ON APRIL 6, 1907 C r.. This page in the original text is blank. THE TRUTH ACT I. AT THE WARDERS', NEW YORK Thursday Afternoon. ACT II. AT THE WARDERS'. Saturday Afternoon, jus after lunch. ACT III. AT STEPHEN ROLAND'S, BALTIMORE. Saturday Night. ACT IV. AT STEPHEN ROLAND'S. Monday Morning. This page in the original text is blank. THE PERSONS IN THE PLAY WARDER. ROLAND. LINDON. SERVANT AT THE WARDERS' BECKY WARDER. EVE LINDON LAURA FRASER. MRS. GENEVIEVE CRESPIGNY. MESSENGER Boy. This page in the original text is blank. Produced in Cleveland, Ohio, October, 1906, and later played at The Criterion and Lyceum Theatres, New York, with the following cast: - Warder . Roland . . Lindon. Servant at the Warders' . Becky Warder . Eve Lindon . . . . - Laura Fraser . Mrs. Genevieve Crespigny Messenger Boy . William J. Kelly ... . . . J. E. Dodson ... . . . George Spink Hodgson Taylor Clara Bloodgood ... . .Mrs. Sam Sothern . .... Elene Fraser ... . . . . Zelda Sears Frederick Harrison Played in New York by William B. Mack, and also by John Emerson. This page in the original text is blank. Produced at the Comedy Theatre, London, April 6, 1907, with the following cast:- Warder Roland Lindon Servant at the Warders' . Becky Warder . . Eve Lindon . . Laura Fraser . Mrs. Genevieve Crespigny Messenger Buy . . .Allan Ayneswvorth ... . . .Dion Boucicault Dawson Mlilward ... . . . Horton Cooper ... . . .Marie Tempest ....... . . ..... Grace Lane ... . . . .Sybil Carlisle . . . . . . Rosina Filippi Donald Calthrop This page in the original text is blank. Revived by Winthrop Ames at The Little Theatre, New York, on April II, 1914, with the following cast: - Warder . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sydney Booth Roland . . . . . . . . . . Ferdinand Gottschalk Lindon . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conway Tearle Servant at the Warders'. . . . . . Lionel Ifogarth Becky Warder . . . . . . . . . . Grace George Eve Lindon . . . . . . . . . . . Isabel Irving Laura Fraser. . . . . . . . . . . Fanny Hartz Mrs. Genevieve Crespigny.. . . . . . . Zelda Sears Messenger Boy. . . . . . . . Guthrie McClintic This page in the original text is blank. ACT 1 At MRS. WARDER'S. An extremely attractive room, in the best of taste, gray walls with dull soft green mouldings, old French chintz curtains, furniture painted to match the walls and covered with the same chintz. Some old colored engrav- ings are on the mantel shelf and a couple of eighteenth-century French portraits on the wall. On the Left is a mantel, and near it a large writ- ing table against the back of a low sofa which faces the audience; on the table a telephone; an armchair and a small table on the Left; a Baby Grand piano in the upper left corner of the room. Some consols and tables in the room; four windows at the back, through which one sees the 211 212 THE TR U TH park. Doors, Right and Left; books, photo- graphs, flowers, etc., on the tables and consols. A smart, good-looking man-servant, JENKS, shows in MRS. LINDON and LAURA FRASER. The former is a handsome, nervous, overstrung woman of about thirty-four, very fashionably dressed; Miss FRASER, on the contrary, a matter-of-fact, rather commonplace type of good humor-wholesomeness united to a kind sense of humor. MRS. LINDON is the sort of woman warranted to put any one on edge in the course of a few hours' consecutive association, while friction with MISS FRASER is equally certain to smooth down the raw edges. MRS. LINDON. [Coming in to a chair near the Centre with quick determination.] You have no idea when Mrs. Warder will be in SERVANT. No, madam. THE TRUTH MRS. LINDON. She was lunching out SERVANT. Yes, madam. LAURA. [With a movement to go.] Come! She may be playing bridge and not come home for hours. MRS. LINDON. [Firm, though irritable.] I will wait till half-past five. [To SERVANT.] If Mrs. Warder comes in before that, we will be here. [Nervously picks up check-book Irom the writ- ing-table, looks at it but not in it, and puts it down. SERVANT. Very good, madam. [Goes out Le/t. LAURA. [Goes to EVE.] My dear, you must control yourself. That man, if he has half a servant's curiosity, could easily see you are ex- cited. MRS. LINDON. Yes, but think! She's been 213 4THE TR UTH meeting Fred probably every day for the last two months, although she knew I had left his house, and always pretended to me she never saw him! [Sitting beside the writing-table. LAURA. [Sitting Leit.] You shouldn't have come here at once. You should have waited till you had time to think over your information and calm yourself a little. MRS. LINPDON. I couldn't wait! Becky! One of my oldest friends! One of my bridesmaids! LAURA. What! MRS. LINDON. No, she wasn't, but she might have been; she was my next choice if any one had backed out. LAURA. Probably Fred's appealing to her sympathy, - you know your own husband! MRS. LINDON. [With a disagreeable hal/-laugh.] 214 THE TR UTH 215 Yes, I know him better than she does! What I don't like is her secrecy about it after I'd made her the confidante of my trouble! LAURA. I thought I was that MRS. LINDON. You are-another! But you mustn't forget that I have gone to Becky in hys- terics and begged her to make it up for me with Fred. LAURA. Were you perfectly frank with her MRS. LINDON. Perfectly! I told her the truth, and more too! I told her I loved Fred in spite of his faults-Good Heavens! if a woman had to find a Jaultless man to love!-I've asked her advice. (Rising nervously and going to the sofa. LAURA. You haven't taken it! MRS. LINDON. That doesn't make any differ- ence! Who ever does [Sitting on the sofa.] She 216 THE TRUTH owed me her loyalty instead of flirting with Fred behind my back. [She opens the cigar box on the writing-table behind her and then bangs it shut. LAURA. Perhaps she's really trying to make peace between you in her own way! MRS. LINDON. Does it look like it Actually telling me yesterday she wouldn't trust herself in his presence for fear she'd lose her control and tell him what she thought of him! -and all the time she had an appointment to meet him this afternoon-in the Eden Musee, if you please! LAURA. [With comic disgust.] Oh! Horrors! MRS. LINDON. Yes, in the chamber of them! If that isn't compromising! LAURA. Eve! MRS. LINDON. And Tom Warder so nice! Everybody likes him! THE TR UTH [Picks up stamp box and bangs it dowm. LAUI.RA. Including Becky. That's the point. Becky loves her own husband. What does she want of yours MRS. LINDON. She loved Tom Warder when she married him, but that was in I903! Besides, Becky always liked having men fond of her whether she cared for them or not. LAURA. Nonsense! MRS. LINDON. She's what the French call an "allumeuse"-leads them on till they lose their heads, then she gets frightened and feels in- sulted ! LAURA. But you claim she does care for Fred' MRS. LINDON. My dear, a magnetic man like Fred has a way of winding himself around a woman and keeping himself wound as long as he wishes ! even when she doesn't wish, -look 217 8THE TR UTH at me! I'd give anything to throw him off for good, but I can't stop being in love with him! LAURA. [Who has moved over to the chair beside the so/a, pats EVE'S hand.] Poor old Eve! Well, when she comes, what are you going to do MRS. LINDON. Give her one more chance to tell me the truth ! I'll ask her outright when she saw Fred last. LAURA. But if she keeps on with her "bluff" of not seeing him, you can't tell her she lies with- out making a horrid scene, and what good would that do MRS. LINDoN. Exactly! She'd never acknowl- edge she was lying but just go on! I may appeal to Tom Warder himself! [Rises and goes to mantel, looking at the fly-leaves of two books on a table which she passes. LAURA. NO I 218 THE TRUTH 219 MRS. LINDON. Why not We've been friends since babies. LAURA. You wouldn't I MRS. LINDON. I don't accuse Becky of any- thing dreadful! Besides, it will be for his good too, as well as mine, -he knows Fred, and I'll wager anything he'll be as eager as I to stop any excess of friendship with him. [Goes up to the window.] Sh! here she is! and a man with her ! LAURA. [Rises, excited, and joins her.] Who MRS. LINDON. [Going to the other window.] I can't see. LAURA. [Joining her at the second window.1 Suppose it should be - MRS. LINDON. Exactly! If she hears I'm here, she'll never let him in. [She starts with a new idea and goes to the door Right.] The window in 220 THE TRUTH that hall juts out; perhaps we can see the front door from there. Come quickly! [Tries to pull LAURA out Right. LAURA. I don't approve of what you're doing at all. MRS. LINDON. Oh, come! [They go out and close the door behind them. [The SERVANT shows in BECKY and LINDON, Left. BECKY is a pretty, charming, volatile young woman, sprightly, vivacious, lovable. She is dressed ultra smartly, and in the best of taste. LINDON is dapper, rather good- looking, though not particularly strong in character, and lull of a certain personal charm. He also wears very fashionable clothes. He is a man whose chief aim in life is to amuse himself. SERVANT. Mrs. Lindon and Miss Fraser were THE TRUTH waiting to see you, madam; they must have gone. BECKY. [With a humorous raising of the eye- brows and a look to LINDON.] Oh! - I'm so sorry! [The SERVANT goes out. LINDON. Gee! what a narrow escape. LAURA. [Off stage Right, pleading loudly.] Eve! Eve!! Come!!! MRS. LINDON. [Off stage Right, loudly.] I will not. I will run my own affairs my own way. BECKY. [Who has heard this, with an amused, mischievous expression.] They are there! Do you suppose they saw you [They lower their voices slightly. LINDON. Well, - Eve can see through most things, but not through the walls! Good-by. [He starts to hurry out, but BECKY stops him. BECKY. You must come back! That's what I 221 THE TR U TH brought you home with me to-day for -to talk about Eve. This estrangement has gone on long enough. I've come to the conclusion you're as much to blame as she is, - or more. LINDON. I like that from you! BECKY. I mean it, and if she wants you back, you've got to go. LINDON. Well, let me get a cocktail first. BECKY. I'm serious. LENDON. So'll I be if Eve comes in and catches me. [Going. BECKY. [Going with him.] I'll let you out - but I expect you here again in half an hour. Do you understand [They go out Left. Off stage.] You're to come back at six. LINDON. [Off stage, at a distance.] All right. rEvE comes in excitedly from the Right. 222 THE TRUTH 223 MRS. LINDON. I think it is Fred! Watch from the window! I'll stay here in case Becky comes in. [She comes to the writing-table.] I'd like to scratch her eyes out! [LAURA comes in and goes to right of the so/a. LAURA. It was Fred. MRS. LLNDON. [Gives a tigerish, hal/-controlled, hashed cry of rage.] The wretched little beast! [BECKY comes in with a start of surprise. She beams. BECKY. My dears! What a pleasant surprise! Why didn't Jenks tell me Where in the world did you drop from Laura, darling! [She kisses LAURA, who is very Unresponsive, having pressed MRS. LINDON's hand as she passed her. MRS. LINDON. We heard you come in, -we thought with some one, - and as I'm rather upset, THE TRU TH we went in there till you should be alone. If you are busy, don't let us interrupt. [BECKY shows that she is relieved when she hears they don't know FRED was there. BECKY. 0 dear, no, I'm not busy. I came home alone,-you must have heard me talking with the servant. I've been playing bridge since luncheon. [BECKY and LAURA sit on theso/a. MRS. LINDON. Where BECKY. Clara Ford's, our usual four. [LAURA and EVE exchange glances. MRS. LINDON. Why! I saw her lunching at Sherry's. BECKY. [Quickly, after only a second's hesi- tation.] Yes, she couldn't play to-day, but it was her turn at her house, so we went all the same - and - er - er - Belle Prescott took her place. 224 THE TR U 22 [Another surreptitious look passes between LAURA and MRS. LINDON. LAURA, Did you win BECKY. Yes, a hundred and fifty! LAURA. A hundred and fifty Good! MRS. LINDON. [Who has seated hersell in the chair beside the so/a.] Becky, Laura knows all my troubles; she's the bosom I weep them out on. BECKY. Oh, come, I've gathered a few dewey diamonds off my laces! Well, how is Fred be- having Has he shown any sign yet MRS. LINDON. Not one. I thought perhaps you'd have some news. BECKY. [Looking away.] I How should I have [Leans over and smooths her skirt. MRS. LINDON exchanges a look with LAURA. MRS. LINDON. You said two days ago for me 225 226 THE 7 ,'RUTZI to keep silent and wait, and Fred would make an advance. BECKY. And so he will, I'm sure! unless you do what you threatened. [To LAURA.] I tell Eve if she starts a suit for separation or does anything of that sort publicly, Fred may be furious and accept the situation, no matter how much of a bluff it might be on Eve's part. LAURA. Verx likelv. -MRS. LINDON. I thought perhaps you meant to see Fred and have a talk with him BECKY. No! [MRS. LINDON and LAURA ex- change glances, as BECKY, rising, rings bell Right.] What good would that do To have the recon- ciliation mean anything it must be of his own volition. He must come for you, Eve, because he misses you, because he wants you back. [MRS. LLNDON joins LAURA on the sola and talks in a THE TRUTH loud and excited whisper to her as to BECKY'S very evident prevarication. SERVANT enters Right; BECKY speaks to him aside, anmusedly watching them, and then comes above table. As she comes back.] Well MRS. LINDON. I believe there's another woman in it! BECKY. [Laughing.] I knew she was jealous! [To MRS. LINDON.] That's just the sort of thing that has made quarrels all along between you and Fred. [She comes to her. MRS. LINDON. Well, if you knew all I've had to forgive Fred, and all I have forgiven, you'd realize I had good reason always for my share of the quarrels. BECKY. Listen to me, Eve. You're a luckier woman than you know! 227 22S THE TRUTH MRS. LINDON. [Startled.] How do you mean [LAURA puts her hand on EvE's shoulder to calm her. BECKY. Because, instead of having the for- giveness always on his side, you have the blessed privilege of doing the forgiveness yourself. [MIRS. LINDON gives a falsetto snort.] You may smile if you like- MRS. LINDON. [Interrupting.] Oh, no, thank you. I don't fcel at all like smiling! BECKY. Well, honestly, I envy you. [Takes EVE'S hands in hers. MRS. LINDON looks once at LAURA questioningly, and back again quickly to BECKY.] You know I love Tom with my whole heart -and it's a big heart for a little woman -and yet I keep him forgiving me -forgiving me something or other all the time. I'd be afraid his forgiveness would wear out, only it's in his THE TRUTH 229 soul instead of his body, and if our bodies wear out, our souls don't-do they Already at the very beginning of our life together I owe him more dear forgiveness than I can ever repay, and believe me, Eve, such a debt would be unbear- able for a woman unless she adored her husband. MRS. LINDON. You've too much sentiment - I'm practical. BECKY. [Sitting down in tIe chair at Centre.] Does being practical give you one-half the happi- ness my "sentiment" gives me MRS. LINDON. Nonsense! My sympathies are with the one who has the forgiving to do. BECKY. You mean, like all selfish people, you sympathize with yourself, so you'll never be happy, even if you get Fred back. MRS. LINDON. [Startled, angry.] IIf What do you mean by that 230THE T/e U TH [Looks at BECKY, then at LAURA, sharply, then back at BECKY. BECKY. [Smiling.] Say when instead! when you get Fred back. Trust me, teach yourself to be grateful that it is you who have to forgive, and not the other way round. MRS. LINDON. [Rises, facing her, almost iri- ztmphantly, fully persuaded that BECKY is in the wrong.] I knew when I came here you'd make excuses for him. BECKY. [Smiling.] You've misunderstood me. I'm trying to make them for you. MRS. LLNDON. Thank you. You need excuses more than I do. LAURA. [Rises, alarmed.] Eve! MRS. LINDON. I am perfectly well aware that I made a very serious mistake in coming to you of all women! 2-,0 THE, 711 23 BECKY. [Rises.] In that case r think it best to consider the matter closed between us. MRS. LINDON. You can think what you please, but I have no such intention! LAURA. Eve! [She sits again on' the sofa. Really Becky has shown herself reasonable and kind, and you've said enough to-day. We'd better go. BECKY. I should have to ask you to excuse me in any case, as I have an engagement in a few minutes. [MRS. LINDON looks ineaningly at LAURA. MRS. LINDON. [To BECKY.] I intend to have the whole thing out nowv! ['WARDER enters lfet. [WARDER is a strong and sensible, zunstsfticiouis man,-no nerves and no "temn peramzent," noth/ 231 232 THE TR' UTH ing subtle about him; he is straightforward and lovable. WARDER. Oh, excuse me! BECKY. No, come in, Tom; it's Laura and Mrs. Lindon. [LAURA and MRS. LINDON say "How do you do," as WARDER cones into the room. He greets them in turn. BECKY writes in pencil on a sheet of paper on the desk. Tom. I wanted to ask Becky if she wished to go to a theatre to-night. BECKY. Yes, I should like to. [She indicates to Tom that she wants EVE and LAURA to go, and having finished writing, comes to him.] I'm sorry, but you really must excuse me. [Slipping into WARDER'S hand the note she had secretly written.] Mrs. Lindon and Laura are going. What are you going to do nowva 232 THE TRUTH2 [MRS. LINDON looks again meaningly at LAURA. WARDER. I thought I'd go round to the club till dinner. BECKY. [Relieved.] That's right. I shall be engaged till half-past six, - er - Mrs. Clayton is coming to see me about the Golf Club at Ros- lyn - and - lots of things. You needn't hurry back. [She gives him an affectionate little squeeze oj the arm and goes out Right. He looks down at the paper slyly and reads it. MRS. LINDON. [Rises and goes to Tom.] Tom, if you've nothing in particular on at the club, would you give me half an hour LAURA. [Rises and goes to EVE.] Eve, you haven't the time yourself; you must come with me. WARDER. [Suppressing a smile as he finishes 233 234 THE TR UTH reading the note, he is a little embarrassed.] Weh - really - Eve -I don't know, - I'll tell you how it is - MRS. LINDON. Oh, I don't mean here! I know Becky wrote you a note telling you not to let me stay, didn't she WARDER. [Laughing.] She did -you see, she has an engagement. [Reading from the paper, good-naturedly.] "Get rid of Eve, I want the room. " MRS. LINDON. At six o'clock. [Glances meaningly at LAURA. WARDER. [Casually.] Is it MRS. LINIDON. To see Fred in! LAURA. Eve! be sensible! WARDER. No, it's for Mrs. Clayton about Roslvn. MRS. LIN-DON. Then why must she be rid of THE TRUTH 2r5 me Georgia Clayton and I are the best of friends, and I have as much to do with Roslyn as Becky. WARDER. [Still pleasantly.] I suppose Beck has a good reason, if she cared to tell us. MRS. LINDON. I know Becky has an appoint- ment here, at six, with Fred. LAURA. You don't know it, Eve! MRS. LINDON. I do. WARDER. [Still pleasantly.] In any case that :s Becky's and Fred's business, isn't it MRS. LINDON. You know Fred! WARDER. Yes! MRS. LINDON. Well WARDER. You don't want my opinion of Fred. at this late clay! I also know Becky! MRS. LINDON. Becky and Fred meet every single day. THE TRUTH LAURA. [Interpolates.] She thinks so. WARDER. What are you talking about MRS. LINDON. What I know! And if you'll wait here with me a few minutes now, in spite of what Becky said, you'll see Fred and not Mrs. Clayton arrive. WARDER. If your husband is really coming, it was probably to spare you that Becky spoke of Mrs. Clayton, and I shouldn't thinkof embarrass- ing her by waiting. MRS. LINDON. [Disagreeably, irritatingly.] Oh, you don't mind, then WARDER. Almost any man, my dear Eve, would mind your husband meeting his wife every day! I only think you've been misinformed, or only half informed, that's all. MRS. LINDON. You are aware that Fred and I have been separated for two months 236 THE 7RUTH WARDER. Yes, Becky told me. LAURA. [Looking at her watch.] It's almost six now. Come, Eve. WARDER. [Going toward the door, Left.] Yes, I'm afraid I must ask you - [Rings electric bell on wall beside the door. MRS. LINDON. [Going to him.] Tom, for the sake of our boy and girl friendship, walk home with me, and let me speak plainly. LAURA. [On the other side of WARDER.] Mr. Warder, please don't go. MRS. LINDON. [To LAURA, angry.] What do you mean [To WARDER, pleadingly.] I've no other man in the world to go to; I need advice Won't you give me yours WARDER. [Looks at her a moment, hesitates, then says.] My advice Of course, if you wish that. [The SERVANT appears in the doorway in 2;7 238 THE TR UTH answer to the bell. To SERVANT.] My hat and coat - and say to Mrs. Warder I'm walking home with Mrs. Lindon. [He goes out Left. SERVANT. Yes, sir. [Follows him out. [LAURA looks significantly at MRS. LINDON. LAURA. If you keep on, there soon won't be a soul left in New York whose advice you haven't asked and not taken! MRS. LINDON. Well, it's my own trouble; I can do what I like with it. What are you going to do now [She sits in the armchair at the Left. LAURA. [Going to her.] Don't tell him all you think you know about Becky. MRS. LINDON. Think! LAURA. It will be a very great mistake. THE TRUTH 239 MRS. LINDON. Laura, I'll tell you the truth; I've had Fred watched by private detectives for over a month, and I have a list of dates and places of their meetings to more than prove what I say. LAURA. How dreadful of you! MRS. LINDON. Oh, wait till you get a hus- band, and then you'll sympathize more with a woman who is trying to keep one! LAURA. But these places where they meet MRS. LINDON. Are respectable so far as I know. But daily meetings my dear, dailyl LAURA.- And you'll tell Mr. Warder MRS. LINDON. I don't know yet how much I shall tell. What are you going to do now LAURA. Wait till to-morrow! Give yourself time to recover, to consider. MRS. LINDON. [Simply repeals j What are you going to do now THE TR UTH LAURA. [Deliberately crosses to the chair at Centre and sits.] Stay and see Becky. MRS. LINDON. [Rises, delighted.] Oh, do! Stay till Fred comes, and catch her! LAURA. No, no! I've finished with this now. I don't sympathize with what you're going to do. WARDER. [With hat and coat, in the doorway Left.] Ready MRS. LINDON. Yes. WARDER. Good-by, Laura. LAURA. Good-by. [MRS. LINDON goes out Left with WARDER. After the outside door is heard to close BECKY comes into the room hurriedly. She stops suddenly on seeing LAURA, turns and tries to steal out. Just as she gets to the door, LAURA catches her.] Becky! [BECKY turns and their eyes meet. BECKY laughs, realizing she is caught. 240 THE TR U T41 BECKY. Oh, you didn't go with them LAURA. No! BECKY Had enough of Eve to-day LAURA. Not enough of you. BECKY. [Sings instead of speaks.] "Thank you! " [She puts her arm around LAURA, and they sit on the sofa. LAURA. Becky, why won't you be frank with Eve BECKY. I was. LAURA. No, you didn't tell the truth about see- Mng Fred. BECKY. Oh, that! LAURA. Yes, that! BECKY. I may have seen him once or twice, that's all. LAURA. Exactly what Eve says-you don't tell the truth! 241 242 7HE TRUTH BECKY. Its false! I never told a malicious lie in my life. I never told a fib that hurt any one but myself! LAURA. Tell Eve the truth. Make her have confidence in you. She says if you cross the ferry to Jersey City, you say you've been abroad. BECKY. [Laughing.] Well, so I have! Laura! I'm doing my best to make Eve happy. I can't do any more than my best, and if I do it at all, I must do it my own way! LAURA. You've seen Fred to-day. BECKY. No, I haven't. LAURA. Becky! He came home with you just now! BECKY What makes you think so LAURA. I saw his back on the steps with you. BECKY. Oh, I see - spying on me Well, you made a mistake in the back. THE TR UTH24 LAURA. I know it was Fred Lindon. BECKY. And I know it wasn't. LAURA. You're not seeing him every day BECKY. Certainly not! But what affair is it of yours, if I do LAURA. We're all friends, and you're making Eve wildly jealous. BECKY. That is entirely her own fault, not mine. [The SERVANT enters Left with a bill on a small silver tray. SERVANT. Pardon me, madam, a man with a box and a bill to collect. BECKY. [Taking bill.] A bandbox [She opens bill. SERVANT. Yes, madam. BECKY. [To LAURA.] Oh, my dear, such a duck of a hat! And only sixty-five dollars. I 243 THE TR UTH saw it on my way here and couldn't resist buying Are hats a passion with you LAURA. [Uninterested.] Yes, rather. BECKY. I told them to send it C.O.D., but I didn't suppose it would come till to-morrow and I haven't a cent! LAURA. I thought you said you won a hundred and fifty at bridge BECKY. No, no, my dear, you misunderstood me, I lost. [To SERVANT.] Tell the man if he can't leave the box, to take it back and call later; say Mrs. Warder is out. SERVANT. Yes, madam. [Goes out with the bill, Lelt. LAURA. You said you won at bridge! BECKY. Oh, you tedious person! You hang on to anything like a terrier, don't you! I said I won because I didn't want Eve to think I'd lost; 24 THE TR UTH2 I never can bear to own up I've lost anything before Eve. [Laughs, pulls LAURA by the arm.J Good-by! LAURA. I won't go yet. BECKY. [Urging her.] You must. I have an engagement. LAURA. With Fred Lindon I BECKY. It is not. [SERVANT enters and an- nounces "MR.LINDON." LINDON lollows in. He is surprised to see LAURA, but instantly covers his surprise. Going to LINDON, quickly.] Oh, what a surprise ! LINDON. Surprise Am I early BECKY. [Indicating LAURA.] Sh! Yes, sur prise. [LINDON sees LAURA and makes an amused grimace.] But I can only give you a very few minutes. I have an engagement, haven't I, Laura 245 THE TR U TH [As they shake hands. LINDON Oh hello, Laura! LAURA. [Very dryly.] How d'you do, Fred LINDON. How's Eve LAURA. [Embarrassed.] Very well - at least not very - yes, she is of course very well! She's just left here. [She adds this pointedly. LINDON. Oh! sorry I missed her! Give her my regards when you see her, and say I'm glad she's well. [He goes to the piano, sits on the bench, and plays. LAURA. [Rises indignant.] I shall do nothing of the kind. [She starts to leave the room. LINDON runs what he is playing into " Good-by, little girl, Good by." 246 THE TRUT H 247 BECKY. [Oflering her hand.] Good-by. LAURA. [Pretends not to see BECKY'S hand.] Good-by. [She goes out Left. BECKY. [Going to the piano.] They both saw you come back with me / LINDON. [Still playing, improvising. Laugh- ing.] No! Did they BECKY. [Laughing.] Yes, but it's no laughing matter! Eve is jealous. LINDON. [Stops playing.] What right has she Did she expect me to sit alone in the drawing- room for two months straining my ears to hear her ring the front door bell [He continues playing BECKY. They know we've been meeting every day, - at least they think so. Have we LINDON. [Still playing.] No! 248 THE TR UTR BECKY. Yes, we have! Haven't we LINDON. [Slops playing.] Well, yes, if you want the truth. BECKY. [Goes to sofa and sits.] There's no use telling a story about it. I've nothing to be ashamed of, -I did it with the best of motives. LINDON. [Goes to BECKY.] Oh, don't spoil it all, Becky, v ith motives! [He leans over the arm o/ the sofa to talk to her. BECKY [Laughs.] You know Eve mustn't be jealous of me! LINDON [Earnestly.] Now you're not going to let her break up our little - BECKY. [Interrupting.] Fred, how much do you like me LINDON. [Smiling.] I daren't tell youl BECKY. No, I mean really/ LiNDON. So do II THE TRUETH4 REcKy. I believe you are fond of me. LmrnoNo. I am I BECKY. And I like you to be. LINDON. [Placing his hand on hers on the so/a's arm.] Because BECKY. [Slowly drawing her handfrom his.] I like men to like me, even though it really means nothing. LINDON. Nothing [Rather chagrined. BECKY. [Amused.] I like it for myself, and besides I think it's a compliment to Tom! LINDON. [Mockingly.] Oh! Oh! I say! Becky! [He -moves to the chair Right beside BECKY and drawing it nearer sits /acing her. BECKY. But with you there was a special reason. LINDON. [Is encouraged. Draws a little nearer to her.] Yes 249 50THE TRUTh' BECKY. Of course you have perfectly under stood why I've seen so much of you. LINDON. You've been my friend. BECKY. I've sympathized with you. LINDON. You've been the only real glimpse of happiness I've had for months in my life. BECKY. Don't be rhetorical! no man sounds sincere, when he talks pictures. I'll tell you why I wanted you to come back this afternoon. LLNDON. [Taking her two hands.] To make me happy! BECKY. [Pulling her hands away, and palling his hall seriously.] Yes, [He leans over toward her.] by making you realize it's time you went to Eve and asked her to come back. LINDON. [Sinking back in his chair.] Non- -ense; Eve's made a row and frightened you. BECKY. How frightened me I always meant 250 THE TRUTH when I'd got you where I wanted you, to in- fluence you to make it up with Ev.e. She adores you ! LINDON. She has an odd way of showing it. [He rises and leans against the mnantel beside the sofa. BECKY. You don't want every woman to show her love in the same way. LINDON. I don't want any (ther woman to show me she loves me in Eve's wav. BECKY. Come now, you're unfair to Ev-e! I'm going to sympathize with her a little. Granted that she is jealous, granted that she doesn't always control her temper!-Nwhat woman worth while does! LINDON. [Laughing.1 But she ought to trust me-as you do. BECKY. [Laughing.] Oh, I'm not your wife. 251 252 THE TR' U7TI 1 wouldn't trust you for a minute if I were married to you ! LINDON. How about Tom BECKY. Of course I trust Tom. LINDON. And I trust Eve. [Laughing. BECKY. Oh! but it's not the same thing. You trust Eve because you don't care enough. I trust Tom because -well, in one little word, he is per- fect and I adore him! LINDON. Sounds boring! BECKY Eve's proved she loves you with a big love! She's proved it by forgiveness. That's the proof of a love it's not easy to get and even harder to deserve! You've got it - [He moves toward her.] we won't go into the deserving part! But if only half that she says and one quarter of what every one else says of you is true, you ought THE TRUTH 253 to go on your knees to her in gratitude if she is will- ing to take you back. LINDON. [Sits on the arm of sofa, half laugh- ing.] She will! She's left before. BECKY. You love her, Fred LINDON. [Casually.] No, I love you! BECKY. Nonsense! I mean really! Promise me you'll go to Eve to-morrow and ask her to come back. LINDON. [Slides down on to sofa.] Not yet- give me another month! BECKY. You'll lose her! LINDON. No, there are certain things you can't lose - try as hard as you like! BECKY. That isn't funny. LINDON. She's been urging you to do this. BECKY. Nothing of the sort! She's too proud. And she mustn't dream I've had anything to do 254 THE TRUTI with your going to her. No woman really wants to accept her happiness like a pauper at the Lady Bountiful hands of another woman. She might think she was grateful to me, but she wouldn't be ! With a disposition like Eve's you'd have another quarrel inside a fortnight. No! Eve must think you've come to her spontaneously because you can't live without her. [He whistles. She rises.] You can whistle, but you'll never get another woman half so good to you as Eve! Make her think you want her back. Make yourself think you want her back, and you don't know how happy you'll be - first in making her happy, and second in finding you are yourself. [He takes hold of her hand; she draws it away quickly and sits in the armchair on the opposite side of the room. LINDON. What are you doing away over there THE TRUTH 255 BECKY. Oh, I thought it was getting a little :rowded on the sofa. LINDON. And must I give up my visits with you BECKY. Of course. LINDON. Oh, well, if that's the price, I don't want happiness, it costs too much! BECKY. You won't need sympathy any more. You can write me a little note and say: "Becky, I thought I loved you, but it was only a heart being caught on the rebound. Thank you for being sensible and pitching the heart back! Thank you for seeing my real happiness was in making Eve happy." LINDON. You know that doesn't sound like me! BECKY. Not like your foolish old you, but like your sensible new you, who has found out you can have a woman friend without getting 5iTHE TR X TH sued for damages, -which has been your usual experience, I believe! LINDON. Becky! Don't rob the graves! BECKY. Well, will you go to Eve and beg her to come back LINDON. [Rises.] No! BECKY. Fred! The price of my friendship is your peace with Eve! LINDON. [Going to BECKY.] But if I consent, I may come to see you BECKY. Yes. LINDON. Eve, my darling wife, forgive me! Come to my arms and stay there - for five minutes -consider it done! Where, to-mor- row BECKY- The Metropolitan LINDON. No, let me come here to-morrow and what time 256 THE TRUTH 257 BECKY. [Rises.] Four - but to say Good-byl [She means it.] The last visit! LINDON. Oh! well, we won't cross that bridge till we come to it! and I'll make you a bet if you ever do send me away for good, do you know what will happen BECKY. [Amused.] No, what LINDON. In a day or two you'd send for me to come again after all! BECKY. [Laughing.] Why LINDON. Because you like me better than you think you do! BECKY. [Going to the writing-table.] Oh, really! I LINDON. [Following her.] Yes, really! and you know - though you may not acknowledge it to yourself, still you know just how strong my feeling is for you. THE TR U THf BECKY. [Turning toward him.] But I do ac- knowledge it, and I am grateful and pleased tu have you care for me. [She pulls the chair beside the table in Iront oj her. LLNDON. [Pushing chair away.] "Care for you! " BECKY. [Pulling chair back.] Yes! and I want to show my appreciation by making you happy. LINDON. Eve's jealousy has frightened you, but you'll forget it to-morrow! BECKY. [Really not understanding.] How do you mean [She looks at him questioningly, innocently He looks back knowingly with a hall smile not believing her. A pause. WARDER come THE TR U TH in Lelt. He looks from one to the other, then speaks pleasantly. WARDER. Oh! How are you, Lindon LINDON. Good evening, Warder. [Both mcn stand; an awkward pause BECKY. [Sitting in the armchair Right.] Sit down, Tom. [He does so on the chair by the table. LINDON sits on the so/a A moment's pause.] LINDON. Do you come up town generally as late as this WARDER. Oh, no, I've been up some time. [Second awkward pause. BECKY. Did you get the theatre tickets WARDER. No, I forgot; I didn't go to the club. I'll telephone from here. [Very casually. Has Mrs. Clayton gone BECKY. Who 2-9 260 THE 7R U THI WARDER. Mrs. Clayton. You said- [BECKY interrupting. BECKY. Mrs. Cl- Oh! Yes! She's gone. [Awkward pause. LINDON. Have you been to the club WARDER. [Very casually.] No, I walked back with your wife to her mother's. [Awkward pause. BECKY and LINDON ex- change glances. LINDON. [Hall humorously.] I hear Eve is looking very well. [Pause. WARDER. By the way, will you have a whiskey and soda, a cocktail or something BECKY. Or tea LINDON. Tea poison to me! No, thanks, I must be getting on. [All rise; then, alter a moment of embarrassment, WARDER speaks. THE TRUTH2 WARDER. Yes LINDON. I've an early, melancholy, bachelor's dinner at seven. BECKY. It's your own faultl Think how well Eve looks in a dinner dress, and what a delight ful hostess she always is. LINDON. Yes, Eve's all right in a crowd 1 LShaking hands. To WARDER.] Forgive my domestic affairs intruding. Mrs. Warder has been kind enough to advise me a little! Good-by ! [Going. WARDER. I'm sure her advice is good. You'd better take it! LINDON. Perhaps! - but in homeopathic doses' [To BECKY.] Good-by! [To WARDER.] Bye, Warder. [Laughing, he goes out Left. WARDER and 26i 6THlE TR Ul7YI BECKY, alone, look at each other,- BECKV questioningly, WARDER hall puzzled. BECKY. Well! Has Eve been weeping on your bosom, too WARDER. No, I think she scratched it, if she did anything! BECKY. [Hall amused, hall worried.] How (lo you mean [The SERVANT enters with a letter which he gives to BECKY.] When did this come SERVANT. A little while ago, but madam gave 9rders not to be interrupted. [He goes out. WARDER gives BECKY a quick, sharp look, which, however, she doesn't notice. BECKY. From father! He can't want more mo(Jney already! WARDER. You sent him how much two days ago 262X THE TRUTTH 26; BECKY. [Goes above the writing-table as sht opens the letter.] You sent him, you generous darling, three hundred dollars. I had given him his allowance the beginning of the month. WARDER. And gone already! Of course, he's been at the races this wveek! No more. Becky, -is it true you've been seeing Lindon every day lately BECKY. [lVhile she reads her letter.] No! - yes! [Looks up at him.] I mean no, certainly not! WARDER. [Smiling.] Which is it or do I take my choice BECKY. [WVith a little laugh.] I've seen some- thing of him. I'm sorry for him.-Father's in more trouble. WARDER. That's an old story, and this is something new. Eve is jealous of you. 24THE TRUTH BECKY. [Looks up at him.] Are you, of Fred Lindon WARDER. NO! BECKY. [Goes quickly to him and kisses him and pushes him down on to the so/a.] Bless you! You're right, and that's my answer to Eve!- Father does want more money! WARDER. We send no more till next month, not one penny. Come here! [He makes her sit on the arm of the so/a beside him. She puts her arm about has neck and hugs him. WARDER continues.] You haven't seen Lindon almost daily for the past month, have you BECKY. No. WARDER. You haven't met him by appoint- ment at the Metropolitan, Eden Musee, or any such places BECKY. Eve's jealousy gives her the most 264 THE TR U rTH 265 ridiculous ideas! When I have been with Mr. Lindon, it has been principally to talk about Eve, and entirely with the desire to try and reconcile them. WARDER. Grant that! But it's not true about all these appointments BECKY. No! WARDER. [iVtlh his arm about her waist.] I believe you love me better than all the world BECKY. Than all the world, and every world, and all the planets put together, Mars, Saturn, and Venus. Yes. I love you even more than Venus! [Laughing and giving him another caress. WARDER. I have every confidence in you and your motives. But I have none in Lindon's- so I want to-day's visit to be his last, my dear. 266 THE TR UTH BECKY. [Rising, a little uncomfortable.] All right. WARDER. Own up, now, hasn't he tried to make love to you BECKY. [Leaning on the back of the chair, facing him.] No! WARDER. Not a bit BECKY. [Smiling.] Well - maybe - just a tiny bit -but not in earnest WARDER. [Rising, angrily.] I was sure of it! the damn puppy! Becky, I've heard him swear there's no such thing as a decent woman if a man goes about it in the right way! BECKY. Oh, you men are always hard on another man whom women like. WARDER. I know what I'm talking about this time, and you don't. BECKY. [With dignity.] I judge by his be- THE TR UTHZ 2 havior to me. fie may have led me to believe he likes me very much, -he ought to like me, I've been very nice to him, -and I suppose it flattered me - [Smi/hig it always does flatter me when men like me, - an(l I think one feeling I have is pride that you have a wife whom other men admire! If AMr. Lindon has made -- er - re- spectful love to me, that's a compliment to you. [WARDER laughs, sincerely amtused.] But he has not insulted me. WARDER. [Smiling.] That's your fault. You are the kind of woman he doesn't believe exists, and he can't make up his mind just what tactics to adopt. BECKY. He knows perfectly, unless he's deaf and blind, that my seeing him -a few times only - has been solely to reconcile him with Eve. 267 268 THE TR UTH WARDER. That sort of man is deaf and blind except to his own rotten mental suggestions. He is incapable of believing in your philanthropic motive, so let it go, dear. BECKY. [Places the letter on the writing-table and sits behind it.] Eve has frightened you! WARDER. [Walks away.] Not a bit; I laughed at her fears that you were fascinated by her pre- cious worm! But I do consider that unwittingly you have been playing a dangerous and - for- give me, darling - [Going to her.] a very fool- ish game. Already some one believes you've been seeing Lindon every day. You haven't! But that doesn't make any difference! Every one will believe you have seen him twice a day in another month if you continue seeing him at all. No woman can have the "friendship" of a man like Lindon for long without - justly or unjustly THE TRUTH 269 - paying the highest price for it. [He places his hand tenderly on her shoulder.] You wouldn't know what the price was till the bill came in, - and then no matter how well you knew and those who love you knew you had not danced, all the same the world would make you pay the piper! BECKY. I do your sex greater justice than you! I don't believe there's any man, no matter what he has been, whom some sincere woman can't waken to some good that is in him! WARDER. [Smiling.] That's all right, but you please let Eve wake up Lindon! [He moves away.] Had you made any arrangements to ring a little friendly alarm on him to-morrow BECKY. No! And that, of course, was Eve's suggestion! WARDER. Well, never mind so long as it's understood his visits here are at an end. You THE TR U TH don't expect him to-morrow, and should he come, you won't see him, eh BECKY. Exactly! [Smiling.] When I told him to-day his visits were over, what do you think he said WARDER. I couldn't guess. BECKY. He said I'd change my mind and send for him! WARDER. And if you did, do you know what he would do BECKY. No,-what WARDER. Consider it a signal of capitulation, -and ten to one take you in his arms and kiss you! BECKY. [Rises.] He wouldn't dare! WARDER. I'm not sure, but at any rate I am serious about one thing in this discussion. BECKY. [Goes to him and places her hands 270 THE TRU7 27 lovingly on his arms.] Our first "domestic row." WARDER. [Turns her about and holds her in his arms, -she leans against htim.] And last BECKY. Amen ! WARDER. [Very seriously.] And I echo the sentiment, I know, of every sane husband in New York-Lindon's attentions to a n-an's wife are an insult, and as your husband I won't have them. BECKY. [Leaving his arms, pushes him play- fully into a chair and sits near him in the corner of the sofa.] WVell, give me my woman's last word. I still think you are unfair to him - but I love you all the same ! ! WARDER. You'd better! BECKY. I'm so afraid you'll get-not tired, but - well - too used to me I 271 272 THE TRUTH WARDER. Not till I find you twice the same! Now, -what about your father BECKY. He only wants fifty dollars, and says he must have it; let's send it. WARDER. No, that's the way it's been always. Our "no" has always ended "yes," so of course he hasn't believed in it. This time it must stay " no." BECKY. [Plaintively.] You won't send it WARDER. No, and you mustn't. BECKY. Oh, I haven't got a cent. But he says he's in real trouble and he must have it. WARDER. It's always the same thing! And we must put a stop to his inveterate, indiscriminate gambling. If we don't teach him the lesson he needs soon, before we know it he will be in real trouble that ten thousand times fifty dollars mfghtn't get him out of, THE TRUTH27 BECKY. But he promises not to - WARDER. [Interrupting.] My dear! He has given his word over and over again, and broken At twice as many times! If it isn't a race course, it's a bucket shop -or some cheap back door roulette table, and it's got to stop! Stop now! BECKY. But, Tom - WARDER. [Interrupting.] Now, Becky! You know how hard it is for me to refuse you. BECKY. It's only - WARDER. [Interrupting.] You must trust my judgment, and your father must learn, and a small matter of fifty dollars is a good chance to begin; it can't be so very serious! so that's ended. BECKY. [Hall humorously, hall discouragedly.] Yes, I guess it's ended! WARDER. Now, will you try to realize that I only want to do what's best and right 273 274 THE TRUTh BECKY. [Kisses him.] Yes, but I can't help feeling sorry for father. rSmiling. [The SERVANT enters Left with a bill and a bandbox. SERVANT. Beg pardon, madam, but the man has come back. BECKY. [Takes the bill.] Oh, my hat! Very well, I'll ring when I'm ready. Leave the box on the chair. SERVANT. [Puts bandbox on the chair at Lelt.] Very good, madam. [He goes out. BECKY. [Smiling, embarrassed.] I'm nearly as bad as father! WARDER. Lose at Bridge to-day BECKY. No, I didn't play to-day, but I couldn't resist a hat, my dear, the most adorable ha THE TRUTH 275 [WARDER laughs "Oh. Becky "] No, honestly! Much more beautiful than the one I bought day before yesterday! I'm ashamed but I did order it to come home, and I haven't a penny. WARDER. [Teasing her.] Send it back! BECKY. Oh, you wouldn't be so heartless! and what would they think at the shop WARDER. [Getting out his pocketbook.] How much is it BECKY. [Hesitates a moment.] Fifty dollars! WARDER. [With a slight quizzing look.] Just what your father wants. BECKY. Yes! Give the money to father and I'll send back the bonnet. WARDER. No, my darling. You know it isn't the money with your father, it's the principle of the thing. I've not got the money, I must write a check. 7HE TRUTH [He looks for the check book. She quickly gets a check book from table and hides it behind her back. BECKY. Your check book's upstairs. [She rings the bell on the desk. WARDER. I thought perhaps yours was here BECKY. No, mine's used up, as usualI WARDER. All right. [He goes out Right, as the SERVANT enters. BECKY. [Opening the bandbox.] Send the maD here, Jenks. SERVANT. Yes, madam. [He goes out, Left. BECKY. [Takes out the hat and looks at it ad- miringly.] What a duck! [Heaves a great sigh and puts it back and starts to re-tie the strings, as the MAN enters.] I want you to take this back to Mime. Flora, and say Mrs. Warder is extremely 276 THE TRUTH27 sorry, but Mr. Warder has taken a violent dislike to the hat, so she cannot have it. She will be in later to choose another. MAN. Yes, ma'am. [He goes out with the bandbox, Left. BECKY sits down and starts to write a letter hurriedly. WARDER comes in with check. BECKY hides the letter she is writing. WARDER. [Coming to the table.] Here's the check, all but the name of the payee. Where's the bill BECKY. Make it out to me, and I'll endorse it. WARDER. Why BECKY. 0 dear! [Hall worried, hall smiling.] I told you a sort of fib ! The hat was only thirty- five dollars, but I wanted the extra fifteen for some- thing else. Please don't be angry - WARDER. [Laughing.] I'm not angry, though 277 2 7S THE TRUTH you know I dislike even little fibs. Why didn't you le.' me if you're hard up I'll give you this and make out another for the bonnet shop. BECKY. No, you needn't do that; the man's gone now for the change, -I told him. WARDER. [Finishes the check and gives it to her.] Becky! you're not going to send this to your father I forbid that. BECKY. No, no, darling! [Takes the check.] And now you get dressed I'll be up in a minute You know it always takes you twice as long as it does mre when you wear a white tie! It's a long play and begins early. WARDER. I'll bet you I'll be dressed before you start! [He hurries out, Rig/lt. BECKY. [Rings the telephone on the desk.] Hello! Hello, 6304-72d. [Writes on her inter- THE TRU T7 rupted letter with one hand and listens with the receiver in the other. After a moment.] Hello! 6304- 72d Is Mr. Lindon - yes, ask him to come to the 'phone and speak to 2759-38th. [Listens as she writes.] Hello! Is that you Yes - yes - Oh, [Lauighs.] don't be silly! I called you to say I am very sorry, but our engagement for to- morrow is off! 0 double f! No, for good! For Good! [She adds very quickly.] Good-by! [Hangs utp the receiver and writes. In a moment the telephone bell rings ,firiously; at first she ignores it; then she makes a grimace at it; then she takes up the receiver.] Hello! No, Central, I wasn't cut off. No, I don't want the number back, thank you, I hung up the receiver. I can't help that! You needn't re-connect us - say the line is busy! [Hangs up the receiver.] Mercy! when you don't want them!! [Rings the electric bell on 279 2THE TRUTH the desk, endorses the check, puts it in the fetter, and seals the envelope. The SERVANT enters as she addresses letter.] I want you to take this at once and put a special delivery stamp on it. I want it to reach my father in Baltimore to- night. SERVANT. Yes, madam. BECKY. Have you any idea whether it would be delivered there to-night or to-morrow morning SERVANT. One or the other, madam. BECKY. [Smiling.] That I know! Make haste. [The SERVANT goes out Le/t, as WARDER, all dressed, save that his tie hangs loose, rushes in, Right. She rises quickly. WARDER. Who's ready first BECKY. [Laughing.] Oh, you've raced! But while you're tying your tie I'll- 280 THE TRUTH 281 WARDER. [Interrupts.] No, I came down purposely to get you to tie it for me! [He stands ready. BECKY. [Ties it during the following speeches You forgive me for telling you that little fib WARDER. Yes, if it's to be your last one. BECKY. My very last. WARDER. No more of those wicked little white lies, even, that you know you do amuse yourself with, and distress me BECKY. No, no! Really! I've opened the cage door and let all the little white mice fibs out for good ! WARDER. And you do love me BECKY. Do you want to know how much I love you WARDER. Yes, how much 2F2 THE TRUTH BECKY. How deep is the ocean in its deepest spot WARDER. As deep as your love for me. BECKY. Oh, that isn't fair! You're stealing my Lhunder! There! [The tie is finished, and she pushes him playfully into the chair by the writing-table.] One good turn deserves another. [With her arms about his neck she slides on to his knee, like a child.] I've let Perkins go out, and you must hook me up the back. [And both laugh gayly as he embraces her and THE CURTAIN FALLS ACT II The same scene as Act I. BECKY and WARDER are sitting on the sofa, both drinking coffee alter lunch. WARDER putts his coflee cup on the table as the curtain rises. BECKY. Aren't you going to smoke, darling [Putting her coffee on the table behind her. WARDER. Yes. [Getting out cigar. BECKY. Give it to me. [She takes it, and cluts the tip with a gold jewelled cuatter which she wears on a chain about her neck.] For six years you've not smoked a cigar in my presence that I haven't clipped, have you 283 THE TRUTH WARDER. No. And how about anybody else's cigars That hasn't cut off any tips for - Lin- don, I hope ! BECKY. No indeed! He only smokes cigar- ettes. WARDER. [Amused.] Is that the only reason BECKY. Oh, you darling! I believe you are a little jealous of Lindon and I adore you for it. [Hugging and kissing him. WARDER. Well, you go on adoring, but I'm not a bit jealous of Lindon. [Rises, and lights his cigar with a match from the table behind them. BECKY. You're not going back to the office It's Saturday. WARDER. No -I think I'll have a game of racquets with Billy Weld. BECKY. Do! You love it so. I've regretted 284 THE 7RU7Z 28 their invitation to dine with them next week, Friday. I said we're going out of town. WARDER But we're not We've people din- ing here, haven't we BECKY. Yes, but I think going out of town sounds so much more interesting Besides, then they can't possibly be offended that they aren't asked here. Grace'll be consumed with curiosity, too, as to where we're going! [A mused. WARDER. But if they see us Friday BECKY. They'll think we haven't gone yet. WARDER. But if Billy meets me down town Saturday morning BECKY. He'll think you took an early train back. WARDER. The truth's so simple, so much easier - why not tell it 285 2S6 THE TRUTH BECKY. Don't worry, it'll be all right. I'm sorry I told you if you're going to worry! [He goes to kiss her; she stops him. WARDER. [Silting beside her.] What's up BECKY. I've decided I kiss you too often. I'm a shop-keeper with only one line of goods -no variety, and I'm cheapening my wares. [WAR- DER laughs.] I don't want you to feel you're getting a left-over stock of stale, shopworn kisses! I want you to feel the supply doesn't equal the dlemand. [She kisses him. The SERVANT enters and they move apart. SERVANT. Mrs. Lindon to see Mr. Warder. BECKY. [To WARDER.] Eve! [To SERVANT.' Ask her to come in here and have a cup of coffee and a cigarette. SERVANT. Yes, madam. [Goes out. THE TRUTH 287 BECKY. [Beaming.] Come to tell us of the reconciliation! WARDER. Why she didn't let him go and be thankful! I don't see what she can love in a little outsider like Lindon! BECKY. Thank Heaven all women don't love the same kind of a man! [Steals a caress.] Think what an awful fight there'd be ! SERVANT. [Coming back.] Mrs. Lindon sends this message - she wishes to see Mr. Warder [BECKY and WARDER look at each other, surprised and amused. BECKY makes a grimace. WARDER. Very well, show Mrs. Lindon in. SERVANT. Yes, sir. [Goes out. WARDER. More trouble! BECKY. They've quarrelled again already! It must have been his fault. 88THE TRi U TZ [SERVANT shows in MRS. LINDON and goes out. MRS. LINDON. [To WARDER, not noticing BECKY.] How do you do WARDER. How do you do, Eve BECKY. How do you do, Eve I Sit down. MRS. LINDON. I wish to see Tom for a mo- ment, Becky. BECKY. What for MRS. LLNDON. I wish to see him alone. BECKY. Why MRS. LINDON. That, Becky, is my affair- and his perhaps! BECKY. Oh, really! I suppose I ought to be- come very jealous now, and do dreadful things. [Smiles.] But don't have me for a moment on your mind, Tom. [Kisses her finger, puts it to Tom's lips, he kisses it, and she goes out Right. 288 THE TRUTH11 289 WARDER. What is it, Eve You know I have no earthly secrets from Becky. MRS. LINDON. It's about her secrets from you! WARDER. Nonsense I [Hall laughs. MRS. LINDON. [Sitting in the chair by the table near Centre.] I only hinted at things the other day - and only hinted at one-half the truth. WARDER. [Sitting on the so/a.] Excuse me, Eve, but you've got hold of the wrong half. I asked Becky outright-that is our way always. She denied practically all you said. MRS. LINDON. YOU can't make me believe you've lived as long as you have with Becky Roland and not found out - she lies. WARDER. [Rises quickly in anger.] It's because you're a woman you dare say that to me, but you 290 THE TRUTH know I don't have to listen to you, so don't push our old friendship's claim too far. MRS. LINDON. I said Becky and Fred met often on the sly. WARDER. [Sitting again.] Which isn't true! MRS. LINDON. No! They meet every day / WARDER. Eve, I think your trouble has gone to your brain. MRS. LLNDON. [Still quietly, but with the quiet of the crater when the volcano is alive beneath.] I can prove to you that Becky has seen Fred every day and more than that! When we had our talk two days ago, they had agreed together that he was to go through a form of reconciliation with me for appearance' sake, and their meetings were to continue. She had an appointment with him for yesterday. THE TRUTH 291 WARDER. That I know isn't true, for she swore to me the opposite. MRS. LINDON. Yes, you frightened her off and she broke the engagement by telephone, which made Fred perfectly furious! WARDER. [Rising, goes to mantel and knocks his cigar ashes into the grate; absolutely uncon- vinced, he continues with a cynical smile.] And how did you obtain this decidedly intimate infor- mation MRS. LINDON. [In an outburst, the volcano becoming a little active.] From him ! I knew they hadn't met for two days - WARDER. [Interrupting.] How [He looks zip curiously. MRS. LINDON. [Rises and turns away, a little ashamed.] I've had Fred watched for weeks! 9THE TR U T)Y WARDER. [Astonished, rises.] You mean you've - [He hesitates. MRS. LINDON. Yes ! [Comingto the desk, and speak- ing across it to him.] I took their not meeting for a sign that after all Becky had given him up, and I had the impulse to go to him - to go back home. He turned on me like a wolf - said I'd meddled with his affairs once too often -that I'd frightened Becky into breaking off with him, that he had been on the point of making up with me for the reason Ive told you, but now it was done for! I'd raised your suspicions, I'd given the whole thing away to everybody, and I could congratulate myself on having broken off his and my relations for good-forever! Oh, how could he insult me so when it was only his love I was asking for 292 THE TRUTH 293 [She sinks down in the chair above the table, and buries her lace in her hands and sobs. WARDER. [Forgets himsel/ and exclaims.] But how can you - how can you still care for him after everything you've gone through It's beyond my understanding! [He throws his cigar angrily into the fireplace. MRS. LINDON. The history of the world is full of women who love like me, but no men - I don't know why; but I suppose that's why you can't understand it. Why couldn't he realize it is for happiness not appearances I've been fighting And now it's over, for I know when he means what he says -- and he told me, like a low brute, I could go to - where you can imagine - for all he cares, or for all he'll ever live with me again. [Her voice fills up again 2THE TA7 'H WARDER. I should think if you went to the address he proposed, it would insure at least an eventual meeting! MRS. LINDON. [Who has not heard and does not understand.] What WARDER. I beg your pardon! I made a foolish joke! Well [Wiih a hearty long breath of reliel.] Now do you feel better MRS. LINDON. [Feebly, not understanding. ] Better WARDER. Yes, now you've got it all "off your chest" To-morrow you'll be all right and ready to forgive again. Shall I call Becky [Going toward the bell beside the mantel. MRS. LINDON. [Rises.] You're going to ac- cuse her before me WARDER. [Stops and turns.] Accuse her [Laughs.] No-I don't believe a word you've 294 THE TR'U TZT 2)_5 told me. I'd take Becky's unspoken denial against Fred's sworn statement any day. MRs. LINDON. [Going to him.] Then here's yesterday's report from the agency! - and Thurs- day's, and Thursday's includes the report of the telephone central who connected Becky with our house when she broke off the appointment with Fred, - that telephone girl has told us many interesting things! WARDER. Stop! Stop this! I won't listen to you-at any rate not behind Becky's back. I'm not a jealous, suspicious woman with good reason to believe the worst. I'm a straightfor- ward, decent man, I hope, and I know I've every reason to believe absolutely in my wife, God bless her! [He moves away and then turns zipgn her.] Why have you come and told me this. any- way 296 THE TR UTH MRS. LINDON. [Staggered.] Why -why WARDER. [Angry.] Yes, why to me of all people! I was the last person you should have told, as a matter of breeding, as a matter of tact, as a matter of the friendship you talk about. MRS. LINDON. But that was just it! WARDER. Do you dream what it would mean to me to shake even by a miserable tremor my confidence in my wife But you haven't! MRS. LINDON. I thought, and I still think, it's to your advantage to know. WARDER. [With a complete change o0 voice, from anger to the tone one adopts with a silly child.] My dear Eve, while I don't for a minute excuse him, still I do now understand, perhaps, how even Fred Lindon must have found your ideas of devo- tion at times over the endurance line. MRS. LINDON. You don't understand, - I THE TRUTH 297 thought if you knew everything, together we could separate them -could arrange something. WARDER. Eve! believe me, there's nobody to separate in this case; there's nothing, so far as I and mine are concerned, to arrange. [Ire goes again to the bell by the mantel. MRS. LINDON. Who are you going to ring for WARDER. You know. MRS. LINDON. [Stopping him quickly.] Not be- fore me! I don't want to see her humiliated. I don't want a public revenge or triumph; that's not the feeling I have. WARDER. What in the world do you mean [Ie rings.] Becky will deny the- MRS. LINDON. [Interrupting.] Very likely! But these proofs are incombatible, and if that's her attitude, I shall go straight from your door to the divorce court. THE TRUTH [She places the envelope of reports on the table with a blow. WARDER. [Goes to her.] You're mad! If your proofs are all right, then Becky'll not deny, she'll explain them. You forget you can only see everything red now, but I'm sane and quiet and sure [Smiling.j. and I see things in their true colors. You must be guided by me in this. [He takes her hand almost cruelly and speaks strongly, with the manner and voice of the man who is and means to remain master.] Do you understand that [She draws her hand away as i/ in pain.] I beg your pardon. I am afraid you are one of those dangerous "well-meaning" persons who do more harm than the people who are purposely malicious. You are to take no step without my sanction. [BECKY comes in with a certain air of bravado. 29.S THE TR UTH 299 BECKY. Excuse me, I heard the bell and I was waiting -am I right WARDER. [Goes to her.] Come right in, dear. BECKY. Well! has Eve thrown a bomb, or a trump card Am I to be taken into the secret or conspiracy or what WARDER. [Alter a second's pause, in which he thinks how to begin.] Eve has convinced herself, and would convince me, of some very - [He thinks for the word.] wrong - worse than wrong things, but I prefer to be convinced of the contrary by you. And I prefer to come to you with my con- fidence, my conviction complete. And together we'll try to keep Eve from harming others as wvell as herself and Lindon - the latter seems unavoid- able. [EVE pushes her papers on the desk point- edly nearer to him. He ignores them.] Eve says you've not been seeing Lindon often, but every day. THE TR UTH BECKY. Do you want me to deny it WARDER. [Indulgently.] I want you to tell the truth. BECKY. Of course the accusation and the idea behind it are absurd. [WARDER turns and looks at MRS. LINDON, who meets his glance and then looks down at the evidence on the table, pushing the papers a little farther toward him. He does not follow her glance. BECKY hall laughs.] It's like a trial, isn't it By what right does Eve - MRS. LINDON. [Interrupting.] The supreme right of any married woman who cares for her husband. Shall I be more explicit BECKY. No, you needn't trouble! What next, Tom WARDER. Eve claims you had an engagement with Fred - [Hesitates, trying to remember the day. 300 THE TR UTII 301 MRS. LINDON. [Quickly.] Day before yester- day. WARDER. Which you broke off over the tele- phone. BECKY. How does she know that Does she tap our wire Merciful Heavens, Eve, you've become so morbid over your trouble your mind's diseased on the subject of Fred - and everybody else apparently. MRS. LINDON. Ha! WARDER. But is this true, Becky BECKY. [To gain time.] Is what true WARDER. About this appointment with Fred which you broke over the- BECKY. [Interrupting.] Of course not! WARDER. [Who begins to doubt her.] If it were, you could easily explain it, I'm sure. [Hoping to suggest this course to her. 302 THE TRUTH BECKY. [Her head lost.] Of course - but there's nothing to explain! The whole thing's false! What do you take me for, Eve If you think I'm a home destroyer, you've made a mis- take in the bird! And what do you mean by coming into my precious home and trying to make trouble for me [Sitting on the sofa, frightened and almost in tears. WARDER. Wait a minute, Becky, it's partly my fault. BECKY. It is not! I know whose fault it is, and I must say that, at last, I don't blame Fred Lindon! MRS. LINDON. Oh! BECKY. There! I'm sorry I said that. When I'm excited like this I speak the truth straight out, no matter what happens ! T7lE TRUTIH 303 WARDER. Well really it was I who insisted on your joining us, against Eve's will. [To MRS. LINDON.] Your way was best. It was my man's point of view - [To BECKY.] and you are right, under the circumstances, no doubt, to answer as you do. BECKY. My dear Tom, there's no other way to answer. WARDER. [Looks at her, then takes up the envelope containing the detective reports and holds them tightly in his hand. He comney down to MRS. LINDON.] If you will leave us alone, I will go over the whole matter with Becky, -- by ourselves will be much better. MRS. LINDON. I need hardly tell you those papers are most valuable to me. BECKY. [Looking up, her curiosity aroused.] What papers THE TR UTH [Nobody answers her. She tries to see MRS. LINDON. Will you promise me not to let them out of your hands till you put them back into mine WARDER. I will. MRS. LINDON. [As she moves to go, stops.] Vou will find the entries which are of particular interest to you marked on the margin with a red cross! WARDER. [Satirically.] Thank you! [BECKY rises and rings for the SERVANT. MRS. LiNDON goes out. BECKY. [Coming to meet WARDER.] I think I'm a pretty good-natured woman to let Eve- WARDER. [Stands be/ore BECKY with his hands on her shoulders, making her look straight into his eyes.] Now be careful, dearest. You've married a man who doesn't understand a suspicious nature 34 THE TRUTH 305 -who has every confidence in you and the deep- est - a confidence that couldn't be easily dis- turbed; but once it was shaken, every unborn suspicion of all the past years would spring to life fullgrown and strong at their birth, and God knows if my confidence could ever come back. It never has in any of the smaller trials of it I've made in my life. So you'll be careful, won't you, dearest I mean even in little things. My faith in you is what gives all the best light to my life, but it's a live wire - neither you nor I can afford to play with it. [Goes to the writing table and takes the papers out of EVE'S envelope. BECKY. Tom, you frighten me! Eve has made you jealous again. [Goes to him and puts both arms about his neck.] Now, my darling, I give you my word of honor I love only you and never 306 THE TRUYWTR have loved Fred Lindon and never could! Say you believe me! WARDER. Haven't I always believed you BECKY. Ye - - - - s. WARDER. But if I find your word of honor is broken in one thing, how can I ever trust it in another BECKY. Of course you can't, - but you needn't worry, because it won't be broken. WARDER. Then, now we're alone, tell me the truth, which you didn't tell me when you said you'd not seen Lindon often. BECKY. [Turns away.] It was the truth. I haven't - so very often. WARDER. Not every day BECKY. [Sits in the chair by the writing-table.] How could I WARDER. Nor telephoned him Thursday, break- THE TR 'H' 307 ing off an engagement after you told me abso- lutely you'd parted with him for good-and had no appointment BECKY. Of course not! The idea! [But she shows she is a little worried.] Eve Lindon never could tall the truth! WARDER. The telephone girl must have lied too or else the statement was made out of whole cloth. [Throwing the envelope on the desk. BECKY. What statement WARDER. [Sitting on sofa.] From these detec- tives. [He begins to look through the papers. BECKY. Detectives! [Stunned.] What detec- tives [Picks up envelope and looks at it, puts it back on desk. 308 THE TR UTh WARDER. Eve's, who have shadowed her hus- band for the past two months. BECKY. [Thoroughly alarmed.] You don't mean - WARDER. [Interrupts, not hearing what BECKY says; his thoughts on the papers which he is read- ing, he speaks very quietly.] These certainly do make out a case of daily meetings for you two. BECKY. It's not true! WARDER. Though not so very many here. [Turning over a Iresh paper. BECKY. [Rises, gets above desk.] All! All the meetings there have been, - practically. This is simply awful! Eve is capable of making the most terrific scandal for nothing. Don't let her, Tom, will you Tear those things up! WARDER. [Smiling indulgently, not taking her seriously.] Becky! THE TRUTHf 309 BECKY. [Leaning over the table, stretches out her hand toward him.] Well, let me! Let me take them from you without your noticing till it's too late! WARDER. [Seriously.] You're not serious BECKY. I am! WARDER. You heard me give Eve my word BECKY. To a mad woman like that it doesn't count. WARDER. I wonder just how much your word does count with you, Becky! BECKY. [With great and injured dignity.] It counts everything! WARDER. They seem to have hit on some very out-of-the-way places for your rendezvous. [He smiles.] Where is Huber's museum BECKY. Why, it's down on Fourteenth -[She interrupts herself quickly.] I don't know where it is! 0THE TR U TR [She moves away to collert herself. WARDER. [Still smiling.] And why the Wash- ington Heights Inn in February Or the Eden Musee ever BECKY. Of course some one else has been mistaken for me. WARDER. [Looks up.] AM! yes, that's a very possible idea. BECKY. [Goes to the sofa and sits beside him.] Tom, don't read any more of the horrid things! Listen to me, don't let Eve go on. She'll ruin everything if she does. He'll never forgive her, never take her back. WARDER. [Reading and smiling.] I didn't know you skated! BECKY. I always loved skating. I only gave it up because it bored you. But I didn't skate then I 310 THE TR UTH3 WARDER. When BECKY. I - I don't - oh, whenever that beast says ! WARDER. St. Nicholas Rink, Friday, February eighteenth. [Ile has noticed the slip she mnade, but hides the fact; he speaks as he goes on read- ing.] Eve and her husband have had a big row, and he swears he'll never see her again, not even in the other place, that she's come be- tween you and him and that he'll never forgive. [le finishes seriously, his bantering manner gone. BECKY. Oh, how untrue! I don't believe he said any such thing. Eve's jealous mind has distorted something else. The reason for our friendship - [1Ie rises with a hal/-angry move- ment, goes above the table looking for the envelope.] such as it is - was to bring Eve and him together. WARDER. From your point of view. 31 THE TR UTH BECKY. No, believe me, he isn't as bad as you think. WARDER. [Showing the papers.] And what about these They agree with me. BECKY. If you believe those papers about him, then you must believe them about me. WARDER. [Coining to her.] Heaven forbid, Beckv! They would prove you a liar and a terrible one-which you're not, are you BECKY. How can you ask WARDER. If these were true - if I thought you had deceived me to such an extent - I could never trust you again so long as I lived, Becky. BECKY. Shall you speak to Mr. Lindon about them WARDER. No, I wouldn't insult you by dis- cussing you with Lindon, unless I was convinced every word and more here was true. I will see 312 T7HA TR U TH 313 Eve to-morrow and perhaps get hold of these detectives myself. BECKY. [Almost trembling with dread.] And now go and have your game. You need it! You're getting morbid. You'll be believing these beastly things if you don't get some exercise. WARDER. What time is it BECKY. [She looks at clock on the mantel, and speaks with her face still away from him.] Three. When will you be back [She conceals her anxiety to hear his answer. WARDER. Oh, six, I suppose. BECKY. [Facing him with a certain relief.] Not till six - you're sure WARDER. Yes, you know your father's coming and there's no necessity of my seeing him. BECKY. Oh! I forgot all about father's tele- gram! If it's money, I'm to be firm TIE TR U TH WARDER. Absolutely. BECKY. [Taking hold of the envelope which he has in his left hand away from her.] What are you going to do with those WARDER. You heard me tell Eve they shouldn't go out of my hands except into hers. [He gently but firmly removes her hand Irom the envelope. BECKY. And you meant it WARDER. Don't you mean a promise you give like that BECKY. Yes, of course. ... WARDER. [Taking out his keys.] I'm going to put them away in my room. I want to have a thorough, careful look through them later. Of course I can't let it rest here. The detectives must learn their mistake at once. 314 THlE TR UT!3 BECKY. Yes, of course. But you are going to the Wells' now for your game \WARDER. Yes, good-lb. [Presses her hand. Gives her a tender but questioning look, but does not kiss her, and then goes out. BECKY. He's begun to distrust me already. Dear God in Heaven, if I ever get out of this, I'll never tell another lie so long as I live! [She trns to the -indow. Smniles to \WARDER outside and throws him a kiss, biut after-ward her face at once assumes its frightened look. Comning from the window, she sinks upon, the piano stool.] He's got to save me! Nowv he can prove that he is worthy a decent woman's friendship. [She goes to the telephone and calls.] Hello! Hello! [She suddenly realizes.] But I can't use the telephone! Central has told things already! [She hangs up the receiver. 315 316 THE TRUTH The telephone bell rings.] I must write him. [The bell rings again. She takes up the receiver and speaks angrily.] Hello . . No, I didn't ring. You've made a mistake. [Hangs up the receiver.] You telltale toad you! [She writes.] "If this note reaches you in time, please come over"- I ought to be able to get rid of father in half an hour- [She looks up at the clock.] "at half-past three." [Seals note and addresses it.] "Impor- tant." [Which she underlines. SERVANT. [Entering Left, announces.] Mr. Ro- land. [ROLAND is an elderly, dried-up little man with an air of the dandy jockey still clinging to him underneath his gray hairs and dyed mous- tache. A vivid carnation is in his buttonhole and a somewhat rusty springiness in his gait. 7X/X TR U7I'l,7 ROLAND. [Coming in jauntily.] Hello, Beck! BECKY. [With fictitious spirit.] Father! [He starts to kiss her, forgetting the ever present cigarette in his mouth; then he stops to re- move it, and does kiss her. ROLAND. How are you BECKY. I'm awfully glad to see you, but you can't stay long. Excuse me just a moment. Jenks, I want you to ring for a messenger and give him - [Stops.] no, when he comes, send him to me. [She has started to give JENKS the note, but changes her mind. JENKS bows and turns to leave. ROLAND. I say, Becky, might I have a glass of brandy I took coffee after lunch on the train and it's poisoned me. Must have been canned coffee! 31 7 318 THE TRU'7H BECKY. Very well, Jenks. [The SERVANT goes out Lelt. ROLAND. [Lolling on the so/a.] What the devil did you mean by sending me fifty dollars instead of five hundred BEcKY. [Surprised.] I read it fifty! I never dreamed you'd ask for five hundred more! [Going toward him. ROLAND. I wrote five hundred and I must have it! BECKY. My dear father, it's impossible. I tried as it was to get a little more from Tom, but he said "no," to send you the fifty dollars, with his love, but not one penny more, and to make vou understand-and, father, he means it- that for the future you must keep within your allowance. THE TRUTH LThe SERVANT enters with the brandy on a salver, and pours out a liqueur glass full. ROLAND. But you'll help me BECKY. [Sitting on the opposite end ol the soja.] No, he forbids it, and in the future I'm going to do what Tom wishes, and never deceive him even in a little thing again. [To the SERVANT who hands the glass of brandy to ROLAND.] The mes- senger boy hasn't come yet SERVANT. No, madam. BECKY. If he doesn't come in five minutes, ring again. SERVANT. Yes, madam. [Starting to go, ROLAND stops him. ROLAND. Not so fast! [He points to the glass which he has emptied and the SERVANT pours out another glass. ROLAND takes it and puts it on the table behind him. 319 TH0 TE RRUTH The SERVANT busies himself with gathering up the alter-dinner coflee cups and trying to overhear all that he can. BECKY. HowV is Mrs. Crespigny ROLAND. That woman will be the death or the marriage of me! BECKY. Don't be absurd, father! She's given you the most comfortable home you've had for years. In that letter she wrote me she said she'd been a real mother to you. ROLAND. The mother is a blind, a false lead to hide her hand! her trumps are marriage. BECKY. Nonsense! Mrs. Crespigny must real- ize the difference in your positions. ROLAND. You haven't lived with her social souvenirs as I have for four years! [The SERVANT starts to take up the glass which ROLAND has put aside, but the latter stops him. The SERVANT has 320 THE TRUTTH 321 delayed over his work as long as he dares in his desire to listen, and now goes out Left.] Becky, are you and Tom hungering for a mother-in-law BECKY. I don't know what you mean ROLAND. It's a question of five hundred dollars for me or a new Mrs. Roland! BECKY. [Astounded.] You don't mean you owe Mrs. Crespigny that money ROLAND. Well, I've not paid my board bill as regularly as I might have wished. BECKY. [Rises, indignant.] I'm ashamed of )Ou ROLAND. I'm ashamed of myself, but shame won't pay bills; if it would, there'd have been many an unpaid debt washed off the slate in this world. rThe SERVANT returns with a messenger boy. SERVANT. The messenger, madam. 22 THE TRUTH [BECKY goes to the boy. During BECKY'S talk with tihe messenger, ROLAND fills his pocket with cigars /romn the box on the table. BECK&. I want you to take this note to its ad- dress, but only leave it in case the gentleman is in. Do you understand MESSENGER. Yes, ma'am. BECKY. And come back and tell me. MESSENGER. Yes, ma'am. [He goes out with the SERVANT, who has waited for him. ROLAND. I confess, my child, I have flirted a little with the dame in question. BECKY. Father! ROLAND. I have, in a way, led her on! BECKY. And you always told me my mother's memory was the one precious thing left, that you meant to keep always untouched by your life ! THE TR UT11 3 23 ROLAND. I don't deny, Becky, I'd be ashamed of it. I don't pretend Mrs. Crespigny would be a solace or a substitute; she would, at the best perhaps, be a resource,-but what she threatens to become unless I pay is a legal necessity! BECKY. Could she do that ROLAND. I have been obliged at times by des- perate need of ready money to suggest to her cer- tain things as probabilities which were barely remote possibilities! And unfortunately - zn- fortunately - once or twice in wvriting. BECKY. She has compromising letters of yours ROLAND. She has a large collection of illus- trated postal cards from every place I've been since I've lodged with her,-they are her chief ar- tistic dissipation - and a double set of Baltimore Duplicates, which I am afraid are the most foolish; as I am in the habit of making up with her in that 324 THE TR UTH way after little tiffs when she takes the stand of not being on speaking terms with me. BECKY. Father! You've been a terrible idiot. ROLAND. I have, my dear! BECKY. Can't you get those cards back ROLAND. The rent due is "Mother's" price for them [Rising.] You will make Tom give it to me, won't you and I'll promise not to make such a fool of myself again. [Sitting on the arm of the sofa, drawing BECKY toward him and putting both his arms about her. BECKY. Tom's idea now is that you deserve all you get. He'll say you deserve Mrs. Cres- pigny. [Leaving him, she goes above the table. ROLAND. Oh, come, she's not so bad as thatI BEcKy. How old is she THE TRU7H 325 ROLAND. She has told me several ages. The general average would make her about forty-seven and a quarter. BECKY. Pretty ROLAND. A fine figure of a woman and plays an A-one game of piquet. BECKY. I see ! When did her husband die ROLAND. He didn't die. He stole from the bank in which he was employed and went to jail, and she says for social reasons she was naturally obliged to take advantage of the divorce law. I have a suspicion myself he may have preferred jail ! BECKY. [Comes quickly to him.] Father, I would never forgive you if you did such a thing' It's degrading to me and to my mother's memory for you to accept any sort of indulgence at that woman's hands! When we get her paid, you must leave her house. THE TN UT!! ROLAND That I can't and won't do, because I'm far too comfortable! SERVANT. [Entering Left, announces.] Mrs. Crespigny! ROLAND. [Jumps zip.] NIrs. who [MRS. CRESPIGNY comes in flamiboyantly. She is a woman past the age o1 uncertainty, drcssed gaudily, with an hour-glass figure; she has innumerable bracelets and bangles, and an imita- tion jewelled chain flaaunts a heavy pair of lor- gnettes, like a gargoyle hanging over a much- curved bust. Enormous wax pearls in her ears are in direct contrast to the dark begin- nings of her otherwise russet-gold hair. Neither her shoes nor her stays fit, and both are too tight. She is brightly rouged, and yet the very jailure of the /aCade reveals, somehow, 326 TILE TR UJIZ 3f ,2 the honest interior of a human if forlornl/ foolish female. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Excuse me for intruding myself which I know is not social good form. Mis' Warder, I take it [BECKY bows. ROLAND. [,Angrily.] What do you mean by following me here -MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Afler severe look at him, turns back to BECKY.] I want you to know the facis as between your father and me, and just how the matter is, and get your support that I done right [To ROLAND.] I know your daughter is a lady if you ain't, and being a lady myself I have a cer- tain pride. [To BECKY.] I've had a good deal of trouble persuading your father that though a lad) sometimes takes in a paying guest she still holds her own in the social scale. I have friends of my 328 THE TR U TH own in the New York Smart Set! My niece married a Mr. Gubenhamers and lives in a per- fectly elegant house of her own on Lennox Avenue. Do you know her One thousand two hundred and fifty-three BECKY. No. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh, don't you Well, of course I know New York is big. Still, perhaps you know her husband's cousin, who is also in a way a relation You will know her by name - Mrs. Otto Gurtz, President of the West Side Ladies Saturday Afternoon Social Gathering BECKY. No, I'm afraid I don't know her. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Well! I guess you don't read the Harlem society notes in the papers; if you did, you'd know what she stands for socially. BECKY. Suppose we keep to the reason of your visit - I understand my father owes you money - THlE TR) U T13 [MRS. CRESPIGNY turns sharply to ROLAND.] and that you insist on being paid, which is natural- MRS. CRESPIGNY. A truml)ed-up story! [Go- ing to ROLAND.] I gu(ss I (lone just about the right thing to chase on here after you! I'm sorry to say it, Mis' Warder, 'specially as it ain't exactly ladylike, but your father, with all his superfine qualities, is a liar! Yes, ma'am, between us two as ladies, he's an ornery liar! [Sinks into a chair in tears. ROLAND lights a cigarette angrily and goes up to the window. BECKY. Mrs. Crespigny, wouldn't it be better to behave more like a lady and talk less about one Why break into the house of a woman you don't know and make a scene over a matter of rent due you - MRS. CRESPIGNY. It ain't the rent! It's all a question of horses. When he left my house 329 THE TRUT H this morning, he said he was leaving for good un- less I let him have- ROLAND. [Interrupting her.] Mrs. Crespigny! You're hysterical! You're saying things you'll regret - SERVANT. [Entering, Left.] The messenger has come back, madam. BECKY. Oh, I want to see that boy! Excuse me a minute. [She hurries out and the SERVANT /oliows her. ROLAND. I knew you were in the train; that's why I staid in the smoker. And it decided me to keep my word never to go back to your house ! [He sits determinedly in the armchair at Left. MRS. CRESPIGNY. And you told her I was dun- ning you for the rent! ROLAND. She has no more sympathy wilh my 330 THlE TRU7TH 331 netting than you have! I wouldn't tell her the money was to put on Wet Blanket, Monday! SMRS. CRESPIGNY. [Rises and goes to him.] No, you'd rather let her think I was a grasping harpy, when you know, if the truth's told, you owe me at least five times five hundred dollars with your borrowings and your losses at cards! ROLAND. [Smilingly.] You haven't won lately. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Do you know why ROLAND. Oh, of course! You got out of the wrong side of the bed or you dreamed of a black horse ! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Pathetically and a little ashamed.] No. I've let you win a-purpose - because I was ashamed for you to owe me any more money. I'm trying to keep a little pride in you somehow, even if I have to cheat to do it. [She almost breaks dow-n again, and turning THE TRUTH away, takes a powder pufi from a little gilt box and powders her nose to cover up the traces ol tears. ROLAND. Well, do you think it's pleasant for me to owe you money A kind friend like you! [Going to the mantel and flicking his cigarette ash in the fireplace.] One reason I want to take ad- vantage of this tip for Monday is to pay you if I win. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Yes, and then go board somewhere else Is that your idea Or to stay here ROLAND. Well, my daughter and her husband want me. [Leaning on the mantel.] They say their home is my home. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Going toward him, alarmed.] But you won't stay, will you I left word with Josephine to have your favorite meenoo cooked 332 THE TRUTH 333 for a late supper in case you'd come back. We'll have a game to-night. I'll play you a rubber for the five hundred - it's against my conscience to give it to you outright for horse-racing. ROLAND. Loan it to me! MRS. CRESPIGNY. Yes, of course! I always mean loan. Oh, the flat'd be just too dreadful lonesome without you! Say you'll come back! Quick, before Mis' Warder comes in! Won't you ROLAND. [Coming toward her.] Well, if you make it a personal favor to you in this way, I can't exactly refuse! And that ends the most serious quarrel we've had yet. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Embarrassedly.] If we was man and wife, there wouldn't be any need of such quarrels. The money'd be yours then to do as you liked with. .3.4 THE TRUTH ROLAND. Don't tempt me! You know you're a great deal too kind to me as it is and I'm no good to take as much advantage of you as I do. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh, pshaw! Say! I wish you'd help me tu get on the right side of your daughter. You're too delicate to say anything, but I always suspect it's her that stands between us. BECKY. [Coming back.] I'm very sorry, but you must go at once. I have an important engage- ment here in a few minutes and must change my dress. I will promise you, Mrs. Crespigny -- ROLAND. [Interrupts.] I have made an arrange- ment with Mrs. Crespigny that is agreeable to her, without Tom's and your assistance - BECKY. [Alarmed.] Father, not - ROLAND. [Shakes his head.] It seems I exag- gerated my indebtedness a little and Mrs. Cres- THlE TARUTH 335 pigny exaggerated her desire to be paid this month and - MRS. CRESPIGNY. Yes, I was just mad clean through and would have said anything! BECKY. Well, I'm glad it's settled, but it seems a pity you couldn't have accomplished it without the railway journey, especially as I must ask you to excuse ma at once. [Site guides AMlas. CRESPIGNY toward the door Lelt, but MIRS. CRESPIGNY, instead of going out, makes a circle around an armchair and settles herself in it. BECKY goes despairingly to ROLAND. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh, I don't regret the trip over, because I've been dying to meet ou, NEis Warder, ever since I had the pleasure of knowing your father in a taty taty sort of way. And we can catch the four-fifteen. 3THE TR U TH BECKY. Good! [Crossing to her, and holding out her hand.] I'm sorry I can't ask you to stay. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh, I can come over nearly any day! I've got such a perfectly lovely servant girl now. I give her every night out and she works like a dog all day -and you can trust her with everything! Can't you, Mr. Roland ROLAND. You can trust her with me all right. [MRS. CRESPIGNY laughs loudly. BECKY. Father! MRS. CRESPIGNY. Ain't he killing! Do you inherit his sense of humor He can get anything he wants out of me with just one of them witty- cisms. [ROLAND winks aside to BECKY.] Of course, I won't say that he ain't an expensive boarder - [BECKY sinks in the chair near Centre, discouraged.] -but I consider he cuts both ways and at the finish the ends meets. 336 THE TkRUTZI 337 BECKY. I think I gather what you mean. I'm afraid you'll lose your train! MRS. CRESPIGNY. I mean it's hard for a lady what's got it in her blood, to take boarders, be- cause usually the boarders is beneath what the lady 's been accustomed to and she don't feel at home with 'em. Now with your father it's different, because he's a Roland and I'm a Crespigny. BECKY. Oh, is that your own name l thought - ROLAND. [Interrupting.] No, Mrs. Crespigny's maiden name was Ruggles. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Yes, mamma made what we'd call a messyliance, married beneath her, you know. But she never descended, nor allowed us to neither, to papa's social level. Mamma was a O'Roorke. You know, one of them early THE TRUTH high-toned families that came over from Am- sterdam in the Mayflower. BECKY. I see! MRS. CRESPIGNY. Mamma often said to me, says she, "Jennie "- BECKY. [With her patience exhausted, jumps up. interrupting her.] I must say good-by now - I've no time to dress. [She hurries out Right. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Rising.] Well, do you think I made any sort of a hit with her ROLAND. My dear friend, I've told you before, you're not quite my daughter's style. MRS CRESPIGNY. But why not She seems real refined. [ROLAND groans. WARDER comes in Left. He does not see MRS. CRESPIGNY on his entrance. WARDER. Hello, father I didn't think I was 338 THE TRUTH going to have this pleasure. I had an engage- ment to play racquets with Billy Weld, but he broke down in his motor somewhere between Tuxedo and here and I couldn't wait. [MRS. CRESPIGNY comes a jew steps and beckons to ROLAND to introduce WARDER. ROLAND. Mrs. Crespigny, Mr. Warder. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Bows.] Pleased to make your acquaintance. [She turns away with a rather grand manner. WARDER looks from her to ROLAND and shakes his head, then goes to the writing-table with some letters he has brought in from the hall. ROLAND. Excuse me one moment. [Beckons to MRS. CRESPIGNY and whispers to her aside.] Wait for me! MRS. CRESPIGNY. In the hall ROLAND. Lord, no! At the station! 339 340 THE TR UTlI MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh! [Going, she turns at door to bid WARDER good-by.] If you should ever be coming over to Baltimore, Mr. Warder, why just drop in! [She goes out Left. WARDER Where's Becky ROLAND. [Going to him.] She's upstairs. I just wanted to thank you for the money you sent me day before yesterday. WARDER. What money ROLAND. The check for fifty dollars Becky mailed me. WARDER. [Starts, but controls it immediately.] Oh, a check for fifty dollars - ROLAND. The joke on me is that what I wanted was five hundredt [Digs Tom in ribs. WARDER. [Looking off where BECKY went, absorbed in his thoughts.] Oh, five hundred ! THE TRU T 341 ROLAND. Yes, just five hundred. [He looks at WARDER, and waits; hums a song and dances a few steps.] Nothing doing, I suppose WARDER. No. Father, the fact is - ROLAND. Yes, I know, Becky told me. Ex- cuse me, I've got to catch a train. Good-by, my boy. WARDER. [With his thoughts elsewhere.] Good-by! [ROLAND goes out whistling " Waiting at the Church." WARDER stands a moment think- ing, then takes out his key chain. SERVANT. [Entering, shows in LINDON.] Mr. Lindon to see Mrs. Warder, sir. [WARDER looks up with a start, which he im- mediately controls, and disguises completely his thoughts and emotions. LiNDON. How are you, Warder THE TRUTH WARDER. [Speaks very casually and pleasantly, with complete sell-control ] Good afternoon, Lin- don. [Sees SERVANT about to go to BECKY, stops him.] Jenks! [JENKS goes to him. WARDER gives him a key from his chain.] Go to my room and get me a large blue envelope from the upper right-hand drawer of the desk. JENKS. Yes, sir. [He goes out Left.] WARDER. Excuse me, Mrs. Warder is out. She'll be sorry. LINDON. [Surprised.] Out WARDER. Yes. LINDON. But surely there must be some mis- take WARDER. No, I'm sorry. I assure you she's out. LINDON. Oh! Then do you mind if I wait 342 THE TRU TH1 343 WARDER. IS that scarcely worth while I must be off at once, and I imagine Mrs. Warder is out for her usual bridge afternoon. LINDON. I think, on the contrary, she must be surely coming back, and if you don't mind, I'll wait. WARDER. [With an apparently good-natured laugh.] I don't like to insist against your appar- ently superior knowledge - LINDON. [Also smiling.] No, no, it's only a note I received a few moments ago at the club. Here it is. [Takes it Iroyn his pocket.] That she must see me this afternoon. You know your wife is kindly acting as intermediary between Eve and myself. It is in regard to that. [He hands the note to WARDER, who glances at it and returns it without reading.] As it only came half an hour ago, I feel sure Mrs. Warder must expect to return soon. THE TR U TH SERVANT. [Entering with an envelope, which he gives to WARDER.] That is all I can find, sir. WARDER. [Humorously.] That's all I want, so it's all right. Jenks, am I wrong in under- standing that Mrs. Warder is out SERVANT. Yes, sir. Mrs. Warder is in, sir. WARDER. Oh! I beg your pardon, Lindon. LINDON. That's all right. WARDER. [To JENKS.] Jenks, say to Mrs. Warder, Mr. Lindon is here. You needn't say anything about me. I'm off. SERVANT. Yes, sir. [Goes out Right. LINDON. I'm not driving you away, I hope. WARDER. Oh, no, I have some important papers to go over. Make yourself comfortable. Good-by. LINDON. Thanks, old man. Good-by. 344 THE TRUTH 345 [He sits on the sofa, as WARDER goes out Left. LINDON. Well! She did send for you, Freddy old son! Now's your chance! SERVANT. [Reentering. j Mrs. Warder will be down at once. LINDON. Thank you. [The SERVANT goes out Left. LINDON goes to the piano and sings a verse of a song, "Everything comes to him who waits," etc. An idea comes to him. He weighs it, ac- cepts it, smiles, and stops playing.] I will! By George, I will! [He rises. [BECKY hurries in from the Right and goes quickly toward him, crying, "Fred !" in a tone of distress and excitement. She leaves the door open behind her. LINDON, before she realizes what he is doing, has met her, taken her in his arms, and kissed her. She forces THE TRUTH herself away from him, standing for a moment speechless with rage and astonishment. LINDON. I told you, didn't I, Becky [Tries to embrace her again. BECKY. [Slowly and deliberately.] That's just exactly what Tom said you'd do! LINDON. What ! BECKY. Ten to one, he said, if I sent for you again, you'd kiss me. LINDON. [In alarm and astonishment.] Yes. but what - BECKY. But I wouldn't believe him! I said, and I believed, he did you an injustice. LINDON. So you talked me all over with him, did you! Then why did you send for me to-day BECKY. Because I was a fool, if you want the true treason! LINDON. My dear Becky- THE TRUTH 347 BECKY. Oh, you'll hear more and worse than that if you stay to listen! I advise you to go! You can't help me. I don't trust you. You might even make matters worse. It may have been all done purposely as it is. LINDON. Ohi! BECKY. You see I'm ready to believe all I've heard of you, now that you've shown your true silly self to me in that one sickening moment, and I'd rather not be saved at all than be saved by you! [She leans jor a second against the corner o) the writing-table. LINDON. How saved From what BECKY. Never mind! I only want to say one more thing to you and then go, please. But I want this to ring in your ears so long as ycu re- member me! There is only one man in this world THE TR UTTH I love, and that's Tom, and there's only one man I despise and that's you! Lindon, Fred Lindon! You know who I mean! I know now what our friendship meant to you and I wish I could cut out of my life every second of every hour I've spent with you! I've been a fool woman, and you've been a cad,-but thank God, there are men in the world - real men - and one is my husband. Now go, please! Eve's a fool not to jump at the chance of getting rid of you and I shall tell her so. [She turns away from him with a movement of dismissal. LINDCN. [Going toward her.] Do! For that, at least, I shall thank you, as well as for our delight- ful friendship, which I am sorry to have end so contrary to my expectations. BECKY. [With her eyes down, speaks in a low, 348 THE TR U TH4 shamed voice.] This room is too small for you and me at this moment,-which leaves [He smiles, hesitates a momzent, then sits in the armchair at Left. BECKY gives a hall- smothered exclamation o1 rage and starts to leave the room. LINDON rises quickly. LINDON. No, no, I was only joking! I'm sorry you take the whole affair so seriously. Allow me. [He bows and goes out Left. BECKY. [Stands quietly thinking a moment, then makes up her mind.] Eve herself is the one to help me! But I can't go to her till I'm sure she'll listen and understand - Laura! rShe sits by the table and takes up the receiver of the telephone.] Seven eight Plaza. Yes! It's a lady this time, so I hope you won't have to listen! Hello! Is Miss-Oh, is that you, Laura Can you come over at once I am in dreadful trouble! Oh, 349 350 THE TRUTH well, after dinner, then! No, I was going out, but I won't -it's too important. You were right - and Eve's right too. Never mind, I can't tell you over the 'phone. I'll explain everything to- night, only don't fail me. You can prevent a real catastrophe that has no need to happen. - Oh, that's all right, don't stop another minute, then. Thank you with all my heart. [She hangs up the receiver, gives a long sigh, and sits worriedly thinking. WARDER comes in, serious but calm. Looking at him, half frightened, she makes a great effort to be natural, and to be in a good humor.] Hello, Tom! Your game finished already WARDER. We didn't play. Weld didn't get hack to town. Any callers BECKY. No. WARDER. I thought I saw some one leaving -from the top of the street. THE TRUTH 351 BECKY. Did you Oh ! it was probably father; he came. WARDER. No I spoke with your father some fifteen minutes ago. He told me about the money you gave him. [A second's pause; BECKY looks down and then up at him. BECKY. Are you angry WARDER. You gave me your word you wouldn't. BECKY. But I was so sorry for him - that's why he came to-day, he said he must have it: I couldn't refuse him and you weren't here! WARDER. He said you mailed him my check day before yesterday. [BECKY is silent, trapped, frightened. A pause, then she speaks in a low voice. BECKY. I'm so sorry- [A second's pause. 352 THE TRUTTH WARDER. It looked to me like Fred Lindon. [BECKY, more jrightened, realizing what is hanging over her, like a drowning person who cannot swim, flounders helplessly about in the next Jew speeches, trying to save herself by any and every means that she thinks may help her for the moment. BECKY. Well, I'll be honest, it was Fred Lindon! WARDER. [Anger getting the best of him.] After everything - your word of honor, Eve's accusations, my absolute desire - you sent for him to come and see you! BECKY. No, no, you mustn't think that, Tom! He came of his own accord of course,-I suppose to see if I would see him! I didn't know it! WARDER. [Wary, suspicious, to lead her on.] Then why did you see him You could easily excuse yourself. THE TR U TH 353 BECKY. No, you don't understand. [She floun- ders hopelessly.] I didn't know it was he! Don't you see WARDER. No, I don't see! [Watches her with a face growing harder and harder with each lie she tells. BECKY. But I'm telling you - it was just like this; I was upstairs and Jenks came -and said a gentleman wanted to see me in the draw- ing-room. Just that, don't you see -a gentle- man. [She sees the doubting look in his face and mistaking it, tries to make her story more plausible.] I was surprised too, and said "Who" and Jenks said the gentleman gave no name - [He turns sharply away from her, unable to face her as she tells the lies.] Yes, I know it was funny - I thought so then. I suppose Jenks considered it a joke, -and I suppose he didn't give his 354 THE TR UTM name for that very reason, for fear I wouldn't see him - [WARDER, looking up as if to stop her, sees the door Right open and quickly closes it] Of course the moment I came into the room and saw who it was, I excused myself, and he left. WARDER. [In a voice not loud but full of anger and emotion.] Lies! all of it! Every word a lie, and another and another and another! BECKY. [Breathldss with fright, gasping.] Tom! WARDER. [Going to her.] You sent for him! [She is too frightened to speak, but she shakes her head in a last desperate effort at denial.] Don't shake your head! I know what I'm talking about and for the first time with you, I believe! [She puts up her hands helplessly and backs away fromn him.] I saw your note to him! [She starts with a sense of anger added to her other emotions.] I THE TRUTH 355 read it here, in this room; he gave it to me before you came down. BECKY. The beast! WARDER. [With biting satire.] You're going to misjudge him too! BECKY. No, Tom, I'll tell you the truth and all of it! WARDER. Naturally, now you've got to! BECKY. No - wait! I did send for him - it was to tell him about those papers of Eve's. WARDER. Yes, you must plan your escape together! BECKY. NO-! because I still believed he was decent. I thought it was his duty, that he would claim it as his right, to prevent such a scandal as Eve threatened to make, which he knew I didn't deserve. WARDER. Hah ! 6THE TR U TH BECKY. YOU may sneer, but I don't! Yes, I broke my promise to you-what else could I do You wouldn't let me send for him! And he came! And he did what you said he would. He took me in his arms before I could stop him, and kissed me. [She bends over the back of the chair at Centre on which she is leaning, and sobs. WARDER. [Goes to her, speaking with bitter irony ] Charming! And you turned on him, of course! Played the shocked and surprised wife and ordered him out of the house! BECKY. Yes. But I did! Why do you speak as if I didn't WARDER. Do you expect me to believe this, too BECKY. [Facing him.] I don't expect, you've got to! WARDER. Do you think you can go on telling 356 THE TRU TH 357 lies forever and I'll go on blindly believing them as I have for three years BECKY. Even you couldn't have turned on him with more anger and disgust than I did! WARDER. I couldn't believe you if I wanted to! You've destroyed every breath of confidence in me! BECKY. It's the truth I'm telling you now! WARDER. In everything - everything that has come up since my eyes were first forced half open -you have told me a lie! BECKY. It's the truth! It's the truth! WARDER. [Continues, hardly hearing her.] The money to your father, the first lie, and to-day made a double one! All this rotten evidence of Eve's - another dozen! Your promise that Lindon's visit Thursday should be his last, the next! BECKY. I meant it then - I meant it truthfully 5 TBA TRU7YI WARDER. [Ignoring her interruption.] His visit after all to-day - that led of course to a mass of lies! And then the truth! He kissed you! And then another lie and another dozen to try and save yourself ! BECKY. [Quietly, in a hushed, frightened voice.] By everything in this world and in the next that I hold dear and reverence, I've told you the truth at last. WARDER. You don't know what's true when you hear it or when you spzak it! I could never believe in you again! Never have confidence! How could I Ask any man in the world, and his answer would be the same! [He turns and goes away from her, to control his anger, which threatens to get the best of him. BECKY. [Sobbing.] No, no, Tom! Don't! 358 THE TR UT T59 don't say that! You must believe in me! You must believe in me! WARDER. [Alter a pause, collects himself and comes to the writing-table.] Becky, you and I must say good-by to each other. We must finish separately. [A silence. She looks at him in dumb horror and surprise.] Do you under- stand BECKY. [In a low voice.] No! WARDER. We must separate. Quietly-no fuss, no divorce unless you wish it. [A pause, she does not answer. He goes toward her and repeats.] No divorce unless you wish it. BECKY. [With simple but deep pathos.] I love you. WARDER. You must stay on in the house for the present, till you can make your plans. That will help keep the thing quiet, too. 359 .36o THE TRUTH BECKY. Tom! Do you really mean all you're saying Do you realize what it must mean for me - for both of us WARDER. Yes. BECKY. To-morrow, perhaps- WARDER. No. I shall go to Boston to-night for a few days; when I come back, you may have settled on something. If you haven't, I can manage all right. I don't want to press you about that, only - BECKY. I will not stay in your house one single day without you. WARDER. You'll have to I My price for hush- ing up Lindon and Eve, and every one else, is that you on your side act with dignity, and as I think wisest. BECKY. [Going to the armchair at Left.] No! A woman like me whose heart is breaking, whether THE TR UTH3 she's right or wrong, can't act like that. She can't do it! [She sinks into the chair, bursting into tears. WARDER. [Beside her.] Try. For your sake as well as mine. Good-by, Becky. BECKY. [With the tears choking her voice.] I told you the truth the last time. Oh, can't you believe me WARDER. No - good-by. [Going. BECKY. I love you and only you and you always - WARDER. [Turns in the doorway.] The club address will reach me! [He goes out, closing the door behind him. BECKY sits still a moment thinking; then she goes to the writing-table, rings the bell, and takes up a time-table. Her hands drop upon the 36i THE TRUTH table in utter dejection and her head lowers as the tears come again /ast and thick. SERVANT. [Entering Left.] Yes, madam BECKY. [Controlling her emotion and hiding as best she can the traces of it.] Tell Perkins to pack my small trunk and hand-bag. I am going to Baltimore to spend a day or so with my father. SERVANT. Yes, madam. BECKY. And then come back, please. SERVANT. Very good, madam. [Goes out. BECKY. [Takes up the telephone.] Hello! 708 Plaza. [As she listens for the answer she looks about the room, the control goes from her face, and the tears come once more; she brushes them away and tries to speak in a conventional tone without displaying her emotion, which is however plainly evident.) Hello, I want Miss Fraser, please. . .. 362 THE TR UT3 Oh, ask her to call me the minute she's free, please. Mrs. Warder. [She hangs up the receiver and writes.] "I am leaving now. You will at least believe that I cannot turn you out of your house, nor can I live in it one single day without you. It is ready waiting for you as I shall be all the rest of my life if you can ever again believe -" [She stops as the SERVANT enters and comes to her. SERVANT. Madam [BECKY finishes writing silently. BECKY. [Sealing the note.] Has Mr. Warder gone yet SERVANT. Only just this second went out, madam. He told me to pack his bag and meet him at the station with it. BECKY. [Rising.] Give this to Mr. Warder with his things 363 THE TRUTTH [Gives the note. SERVANT. Yes. madam. [He goes out Leit. The telephone bell rings. BECKY. [Going to the table, sits, and takes up the receiver. Again she does her best to keep the emotion out of her voice, but only partly suc- ceeds.] Hello! Laura I'm so sorry, after all, I can't see you to-night. Tom has been called to - Chicago suddenly on business - yes, isn't it too bad And I've had a telegram that father isn't very well, so I am taking the five-twenty train to Baltimore. Yes, I'll write. No, I don't think he's seriously ill. Good-by! [She hangs up the receiver, dropping her head on the table and sobbing heart-brokenly as THE CURTAIN FALLS _364 ACT III MR. ROLAND'S roomsS in MRS. CRESPIGNY'S fiat in Baltimore. This is the parlor of a cheap flat, with the bedroom, through an arch, originally in- tended for the dining room and lit by a narrow window on a well. There is red paper on the walls and red globes for the electric lights. An ugly set of furniture, with many tidies, a strange conglomeration of cheap feminine "nick-nacks," relieved by a sporting print or two, a frame of prize ribbons, and a few oiler masculine belong- ings which have been added to the original con- dition of the room, like a thin coat of paint. At back is a bow-window beside a sofa. On the Left 365 THE TR UTH is the opening into the bedroom, and beside this a door leads to the hall. There is a centre-table with chairs on either side and a Morris chair down on the Right. A sideboard in the upper Left corner. ROLAND and MRS. CRESPIGNY are playing piquet at the centre-table. A " Teddy Bear" with a pink ribbon bow about its neck is sitting on the table near MRS. CRESPIGNY. They play on through part of the scene. ROLAND stops to light a cigarette, and MRS. CRESPIGNY takes advantage of the pause to powder her lace and preen hersell in a pocket mirror. MRS. CRESPIGNY. You don't think you smoke too many of them ROLAND. If my smoking is disagreeable to you, I might spend my evenings at the club. MRS. CRESPIGNY. You know different! You 366 THE TRUT H3 can't make that an excuse for skinning out of spending your evenings at home. I only wish't I smoked 'em myself. I've read in the papers that real ladies do now-but I guess it's the fast set, and I always was conservative. ROLAND. [Playing.] Don't talk; study your cards. If you don't take care, you'll win ! MRS. CRESPIGNY. Will I Excuse me, I wasn't thinking. [She plays a card, and as Ro- LAND lakes the trick she takes up her mirror and examines wrinkles.1 I believe I'll have massage. I heard of a fine massoor yesterday. ROLAND. Masseuse, you mean, I hope. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Massoor! Massoose is plu- ral. The singular is massoor. You forget I was educated in New Orleans. [She rises and goes to the sideboard and pours out a brandy and soda. 367 368 THE TRUTH ROLAND. Where's my brandy and soda MRS. CRESPIGNY. I'm getting it. [Bringing the glass down to the table. ROLAND. That's a good girl. Thank you, Mrs. Crespigny. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Ain't it funny, good friends as we've been for so long now, we've kep' on calling each other "Mr." and "Mrs." S'pose it wouldn't be etiquay to call each other by our first names. ROLAND. Etiquette. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Etiquay I You can correct my English when you want to, but my French I've kep' pure since school, and I remember perfeckly-all words ending in e-t you per- nounce A. ROLAND. What is your first name MRS. CRESPIGNY. Genevieve, but I was always THE TRi U TH 3(9 called Jenny by my first h -! I mean -I was always called Jenny by my schoolgirl friends. ROLAND. [Playing.] Very interesting. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Playing.] I think your first name's real pretty! ROLAND. [Taking the trick.] Tut, tut! You're getting too skittish, Mrs. Crespigny. [She laughs a little embarrassedly. MRS. CRESPIGNY. It's your fault! ROLAND. [Playing card, and laughing.] Then I apologize! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Playing card, and giggling.] Oh, you needn't! ROLAND. [Laughing more at her than with her, but realizing that she will not know the difference.] I insist. [He takes the trick. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Anybody'd think we was 370:THE TR UT engaged to be married or something of that sort, wouldn't they ROLAND. I hope not! MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh, I don't know! I re- member some postal cards what I've read that might be construed to lean that way. [ROLAND rises and gets a cigarette from the box on the table in the bow-window.] There was one from Atlantic City that was just too sweet for anything! You sent it after we had that ridickerlous quarrel on the board walk. ROLAND. What about MRS. CRESPIGNY. I lost my self-respect and asked you to kiss me, 'cause you said you was grateful for the fifty dollars I gave you for your poker losses the night before. And you handed me back my money and said if that was the price Qf the loan - oh, how you hurt my feelings! 370 7HE TR U TH 371 [With a touch oc /utile emotion. ROLAND. [Coming back to his chair.] That was only a bluff! Come along, I'll play you a game for the whole bunch of postal cards. [Takes zip the second deck and shuffles. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Rising, speaks rat/her grandly.] Nobody won't never get them postal cards from me except over my dead body. [Cuts the cards, and ROLAND deals.] And I intend to refer to 'em every chance I get in hopes that some day - just in a desperate fit, maybe - you'll up and marry me to stop me. [Sits again. ROLAND. Go on, play. MRS. CRESPIGNY. You've owned up you're comfortable in my cute little flat - and I don't nag. [Both take up their hands, both play, and she takes trick. THE TR UTH ROLAND. You haven't the right, but as my wife - nay, nay, Pauline. MRS. CRESPIGNY. You've got the best rooms here, and if you ever do pay any board, don't I lend it right back to you the next day ROLAND. Isn't it a little indelicate to remind me of that, Mrs. Crespigny [Playing. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Getting a little angry.] Well, I guess the indelicacy's even! [She plays and starts to take the trick. He stops her and takes it himself.] Oh, excuse me, I'm at your beck and nod, and I've even so far forgot my family pride as to hint that you wasn't unacceptable to me in a nearer relation. ROLAND. There you go again! Keep off the thin ice! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Throws down her cards and 372 THE TRUETH 373 loses her temper outright.] Well, why won't you marry me I may have forgot my pride, but I never forget myself. You know you wouldn't dare step over the invisible line between the dumb- waiter and the bath-room, what separates your apartment from mine in the flat. ROLAND. One moment, please. Have I eve' even hinted at taking the slightest advantage of your unprotected position in this house [He rises in mock dignity.] Who's kept further from that invisible line, you or I MRS. CRESPIGNY. Well, I must say you've always behaved toward me like a perfect gentle- man. [He sits again and takes another cigarette.] But jes' let's speak the truth -if you can about anything! [He /umbles in his vest pockets.] Matches [She rises, goes to the sideboard, and finding a box o/ matches, brings it back to the table. 374 THE Tle UTTI During the first part of the following speech she makes nervous and ineflectual eflorts to strike matches, in each case breaking off the heads without any result.] You know you ain't wanted at your clubs; that's why you first took to playin' even- ings with me - that, and 'cause I was easy! You know that here in Baltimore you're called a tout, a broken-down gambler, and a has-been, but I've always hoped you was a will-be for me. [Irri- tated by her repeated failures, he takes the match- box from her and lights his cigarette with the first match he strikes.] You know your old friends'd rather go 'round the block than stop and talk to you in the street. Yes, you know it as well as I do! And you've lived off me, borrowed money of me, led me to caring for you, let me take care of you as if you was - my own child, and I've saved you from bein' a drunken sotl [Her voice THE TR UTH 375 fills with tears, but her anger gets the best of her, and she finishes strongly, striking the table with he beringed hand as she leans across toward him.] Now, why ain't I good enough for you ROLAND. [Rising, really angry, and his dig- nity offended.] Mrs. Crespigny - MRS. CRESPIGNY. Oh, you needn't get on your lI.gh horse or I'll NAin tlis rubber for the five hun- dred ! I know you're worthless, and I know you don't always tell the truth, but through it all you've been a real gentleman to me, and I realized yesterday, when I thought you was gone for good, what it meant to me. I'm a decent woman, Mr. Roland, if I am a fool, and I swear I'm good enough for you! ROLAND. So far as that goes, you're too good for me, but I've got others to consider. My daughter - 376 THE TR U TH MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Interrupting him.] Yes, I know she's against me. [She sits again, and with determination.] Well, I'm against her, and per- haps some day I'll have a chance to pay her back! ROLAND. That's talking foolishly! In the first place, my allowance would stop the day I married. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Well, haven't I got enough for two It's looked mighty like it the last couple a years. [She nervously takes the "Teddy Bear" from the table to hide her embarrassment at her bold- ness, and laying it flat on her knee, lace down- ward, reties the pink bow on its neck. ROLAND. [Sitting, he gathers the cards together and shuffles them.] Come, come, here we are again on one of those useless discussions. Come along, give me another brandy and soda. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Resignedly.] All right. THE TRU TH7 [Rises, and takes his glass, replacing the "Teddy Bear" on the table.] This will be your second before twelve o'clock and it's got to be a little wveakish. [She goes to the sideboard. The front door-bell is heard ring.] My goodness! who can that be [The bell rings again. ROLAND. Don't know, old girl, but go on, I'll deal for you. [He deals. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Going to the table, cuts the cards.] I just love to have you call me "old girl"- it seems so nice and familiar. [The bell rings again, and MRS. CRESPIGNY, taking the "Teddy Bear" with her, places it on the side table at Left and goes out. Ro- LAND deals. After a moment's pause BECKV comes in, carrying a hand-bag. She enters with an air of bravado, which fades instantly .377 THE TRUTH that she observes ROLAND does not see her. But her pathetic, timid look vanishes im- mediately when he looks up. ROLAND. [Going on dealing, without looking up.] Who was it BECKY. [With /orced gayety.] Hello, father! ROLAND. Good Heavens! BECKY. [Putting her bag on the table at Left.] Aren't you surprised ROLAND. [Dryly.] Very. BECKY. And pleased ROLAND. Where in the world did you come from BECKY. New York; the next train after you. Give me a kiss. How are you [Kisses him. ROLAND. What have you come for Where are you stopping 378 THE 7T RUTI9 BECKY. Here! ROLAND. At what hotel BECKY. No hotel-here with you! ROLAND. Nonsense ! There's no place for you in the flat. BECKY. Why not I gave my check to the expressman and my trunk will be around in the morning. ROLAND. These two rooms are all I have. [Showing the opening to the Left-] Take a look at the bedroom-a beastly, (lark little hole with one window that doesn't look out,-it looks in! The bedroom of the flat we use for a dining room. Mrs. Crespigny sleeps in the servant's room - so she tells me. BECKY. Father! ROLAND. Now you can see what nice sort of 379 THE TR U TH surroundings your poor old father's had to put up with these last years. BECKY. [Takes off her hat and cloak and puts them on sofa at Right.] You have only yourself to blame! You could live splendidly on the al- lowance Tom makes you in the one club you've got left. ROLAND. You needn't take off your things, you can't stay here. BECKY. Oh, can't I I've come to pay you a little visit, and here I stay to-night and several nights. [Comes to the centre-table and starts to collect cards. ROLAND. Be careful! That's Genevieve's hand and we must finish this sometime-I'm well ahead. [Care/ully places the cards, properly di- vided, on the table at Left.] And really, Becky, 380 THE TRUTH 3 you can't stay here. You can go to a hotel if you want to, or back to New York. You're in the way here! I'm an old man; this sort of thing up- sets me! There's no room and there's no bed for you. [Crosses to the Morris chair and sits.] What the devil do you mean, turning up here well toward midnight, and threatening to stay, when for years I've been trying to get you to come to Baltimore, and you know you were ashamed to come BECKY. [Sitting in the chair Leflt of the centre- table.] That isn't true, father; I always said I'd come if you'd give up certain things. ROLAND. Well, I haven't given them up, so why have you come What's the joke And where's Tom BECKY. [Alter a second's pause.] That's just it. Tom has been called to - San Francisco -- 381 382 THE TRU 711 suddenly -just after you left, on business -and the idea came to me, at last I'll make that visit to father! It'll be a good chance for me to settle Mrs. Crespigny, too! ROLAND. You couldn't have come at a more inopportune time! I was very busy this evening. BECKY. Yes, I know,-piquet with Mrs. C.! I'll finish it with you. [Rises and goes to get the cards. ROLAND. No, you won't! You'll go to a hotel for the night and I'll come and have a decent lunch with you to-morrow. BECKY. I can't go to a hotel. I've come away without a penny. I had to borrow half the money for my ticket from Perkins. ROLAND. Where is Perkins BECKY. In New York. I knew, of course, there'd be no place for her here. THE TRUTTH 383 ROLAND. Any of the hotel people here will trust you. BECKY. I won't ask them. I forgot to get Tom's address, so I can't send to him for any money. I've got to stay with you, father. [She sits on the arm of the Morris chair and puts her arm about her lather. ROLAND. You're a very boring person! BECKY. That's a kind welcome for a dear and only daughter! ROLAND. And I'm not going to have myself made uncomfortable by you! BECKY. Please let me stay for a day or two, maybe a little longer or maybe not so long. I'll promise not to be any trouble; I'll sleep on the sofa ! ROLAND. Humph! You don't know that sofa! That was made in the antebellum and the ante- 384 7TE TR U TH springum days! Even a cat couldn't sleep on it without chloroform. BECKY. Well, I don't expect to sleep, father, and if I don't, you won't know it. I've got to stay. [Rises and goes away and stands by the table with her back toward him. ROLAND. [Looks at her, suddenly suspicious.] Becky, you're not telling me the truth. Some- thing's the matter. BECKY. [Turning toward him, taking a high moral stand.] Really, father! ROLAND. There's something wrong. What is it BECKY. Nothing. ROLAND. Oh, come, I'm your father, and I know the look in your eyes when you're not telling the truth; you get that look from me! You're THE TRUTTH 385 telling me a lie -tell me the truth. What does it mean BECKY. [After a second's pause, bursts out with all her pent-up feelings, which she has been trying to hide.] I've left Tom. ROLAND. How do you mean - "Left Tom" BECKY. Left him for good. I'll never live with him again. ROLAND. Nonsense! BECKY. Never! You don't understand. rShe sits again beside the table, leaning her elbows upon it and resting her lace between her two hands. ROLAND. No, I don't! and I don't want to! BECKY. I've left his house in New York for good. ROLAND. What's your reason What's he done THE TRUTTH BECKY. He's deceived me. ROLAND. [Rising.] Tom! Never! BECKY. Father, I can't go back to him; I can't! Don't ask me any more questions, only keep me with you - please, keep me with you. . .. ROLAND. [Going to her.] You're upset about matters. You've had a quarrel, that's all, and you're going back to-night. BECKY. No. I've told him I'll never come back and I've come to stay - ith you. ROLAND. But I won't have it! In the firsi place, Mrs. Crespigny wouldn't have it either. She'd be jealous of your being here-and after all it's her flat. And I don't believe what you tell me about Tom. BECKY. We can go somewhere else. Who is Mrs. Crespigny [Rises, and going to him takes hold of his sleeve.] And I'm your daughter. 386 THE TRUTH 387 Besides, Tom's allowance will stop. From now on you and I must get on together with the little money I have from mother. ROLAND. Nothing of the sort. Even if you did leave Tom, you can make him take care of you. BECKY. I won't take any money from Tom! No more money! Do you hear me, father ROLAND. [Becoming more angry.] No, I don't hear you! And I have something to say about my end of all this, which is that you've got to go back to your husband before it's too late for him to take you back, and give him a chance to ex- plain! You'll go back to Tom to-night! [He goes determinedly to the sofa and gets he hat and cloak for her. BECKY. rTakes her hat from him and puts it 388 THE TR U TH on the centre-table with equal determination.] 1 shall sleep here, in this room, to-night! ROLAND. You'll sleep in a Pullman car and wake up to-morrow, happy and in your right senses, in Jersey City. BECKY. [Moves back from him a little.] You can't turn me out! [A pause. ROLAND reads the real trouble in her lace and becomes serious and sympathetic. ROLAND. Becky, you don't really believe what you say about Tom [She lowers her head in assent.] You know [She lowers her head again.] There must be a mistake somewhere! [Puts the cloak on the Morris chair.] If I ever knew a man who loved his wife! Go back, Becky i BECKY. It's impossible!' ROLAND. [Going to her.] I speak to you with THE 7 R years of bitter experience only what good there is lefi me to say this to you. I you'll be nearer happiness any other way. Go back BECKY. No, no, I tell Tom for good! Keep me UTH 389 behind me, and it's : in me which is urging know in the end that than you ever can be to Tom. you, father, I've left with you- [A knock on the door. ROLAND. Come in! [MRS. CRESPIGNY comes in Left and BECKY sinks down into the Morris chair. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Worried.] It's getting pretty late! I didn't know as Mis' Warder knew the street car don't run past here after twelve thirty. ROLAND. That's all right. Mrs. Warder is taking the one o'clock train to New York. We'll catch the last car. 390 THE TRU UTH MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Relieved, smiles.] Oh, well, then, you've got plenty of time. I'd better let you have my latch-key, though. I'll leave it on the hall table. [To BECKY.] Would you like anything A glass of raspberry vinegar and a piece of jell cake BECKY. No, thanks. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Offended.] Good evening. BECKY. Good evening. [MRS. CRESPIGNY goes out. Why did you say I was going I'm not! ROLAND. You are. If you love Tom, you'll go. [He goes to her and puts his arm around her shoulder.] Do you love Tom still BECKY. Yes, father. ROLAND. Then go back, Becky! BECKY. No. ROLAND. Your religion teaches you that the THE TR UTH greatest love always carries with it the power of forgiveness. BECKY. [Eagerly.] Oh, it's what I want to believe. If it's only true - if it's only true of us 1 ROLAND. You've got to make it true by going back! [He moves away.] Good God! you shan't repeat your mother's and my mistake and make a miserable failure of both your lives! [BECKY looks up surprised. BECKY. What mistake ROLAND. [Quietly, ashamed.] Your mother left me, just as you want to leave Tom. BECKY. Mother - [Rises.] left you ROLAND. And for the same reason, do yot understand me - that you want to leave Tom. BECKY. But you never told me! ROLAND. No. BECKY. How long before she died 391 2THE TR U TH ROLAND. A year. BECKY. And how long were you and mother happy together ROLAND. A few months -not many. BECKY. Tom and I have been blissfully happy for six years! ROLAND. That's an argument for me! Go back! BECKY. What a lot of lies you've always told me about yourself and mother, -all my life! You always said you were an ideal couple and that it was sorrow over her death that made you what you are! ROLAND. I was ashamed when you found me out - I wanted some excuse to try and keep your sympathy and affection. Besides, what good would it have done to have told you the truth [He crosses to the table Left, and taking up a 392 7HE TRUTH 393 photograph o0 his wife, stands looking at it. BECKY. If you had always told me the truth about everything, I think it would have saved me this night. I've about decided that the truth in everything is the best for everything in the end - if one could only learn to tell it. ROLAND. YOU must begin young and you didn't. BECKY. By whose fault [ROLAND turns away from her, feeling the sting.] Tell me now about you and mother. [She sits again in the Morris chair. ROLAND. [By the centre-tfble.] Well, your mother accused me as you do Tom But it wasn't true of me, Becky! it wasn't true - then. BECKY. I'm afraid I don't believe you, father. ROLAND. You don't believe me when, even 394 THE Tk UTH now, after all these years, I tell you it wasn't true BECKY. No. I want to believe you, father, but I can't! You've just admitted you've lied to me all my life about you and mother! Why should I believe you would suddenly turn around and tell me the truth now ROLAND. At last, one trait in you like your mother! Do all that I could, swear by everything she or I held holy, I couldn't persuade her I was telling the truth! BECKY. Perhaps you had already destroyed her confidence in you! You can do that, even with some one who loves you, in a day, in an hour, in even less! ROLAND. It did look ugly against me, and your mother was already disappointed in me. I couldn't live up to her standard. [He smiles.] THE TR UTH 395 I was sort of good-looking, when she married me, -too foppish, perhaps, -and I rode my own horses, generally to win, too, - and what part of my income I didn't make on the race-track I made with the ace and right bower! I promised your mother to give up the gambling side of it - but I couldn't, it was in my blood; I tried, Becky, but I failed. I lied to her about it and she found me out and began to distrust me. She was a crank on the subject of lying, anyway. One of those straightforward, narrow-minded, New Eng- land women who think everything that isn't the truth is a lie! I always hated the plain truth. I liked to trim it up a little. BECKY. [With a nervous, pathetic little laugh.] Like me ! ROLAND. Yes. I remember how we used to laugh at you as a child! Almost the first words 396 THE TRUTH you spoke were fibs, and gad, the fairy stories you used to tell about yourself! [Goes up to table. BECKY. Yes. Do you remember the time, father, after I'd been reading Grimm's Fairy Tales about the wicked step-parents, how I told all over Baltimore you were my stepfather and beat me It made me a real heroine, to the other children, and I loved it! And you found it out, and gave me my choice of being punished or promising never to tell another story! Do you remember ROLAND. [Sits on the arm of the chair and puts his arm about her.] I could never bear to punish you! BECKY. I always made up stories about every- thing. I didn't see any harm-then- ROLAND. Well, your mother said I'd proved THE TR U TH 397 I couldn't tell the truth! She didn't often use plain and ugly words, but she called me a liar, and I've never heard the word since without hearing her voice and seeing her face as she said it! BECKY. You loved her! Oh, I know how it must have hurt! ROLAND. She wouldn't believe me, she wouldn't forgive, and she left me! I don't blame her; it was my own fault at bottom! But it's true as land and water, Becky, as true as you're my daughter, God help you, and that I've loved you in my useless, selfish old way, I was true to your mother. I loved her, and no other woman existed for me then. I was willing to own up I had broken my word and was a gambler! I was willing to own up I was a liar, even, and perhaps I deserved all I got, but I loved your mother, 398 TIE TARUTHi and when she went back on me and believed the one thing about me that wasn't true, I gritted my teeth like a damn fool and said, " To hell with women and to the dogs for me!" BECKY. And it wasn't true! Father! I be- lieve you, it wasn't true! ROLAND. No, but it was true enough soon after! I kept my word to myself and gave her plenty of reasons not to love me afterwards- and that was the beginning of the end of me. BECKY. But if you'd only waited, if you'd only given her a chance, wouldn't she have real- ized ROLAND. [Going to her, puts his hand on her shoulder.] Yes, and that's why you must go back to Tom to-night. Do you want to repeat your mother's and my story Go back, Becky! BECKY. I can't. THE TR UTH 399 ROLAND. Well, I can tell you what Tom'll do if you put off going back to him till it's too late. He'll let you go, and help you to divorce him, so he can marry some other woman, your opposite, and be happy the rest of his life. BECKY. Father! [BECKY shows a new element, jealousy, added to her trouble. ROLAND. Or else he'll grow hard and bitter about all women, and the gold years of a man's life will be brass in his mouth - thanks to you! BECKY. Yes, and I'll live here with you and grow dowdy and slattern, till I'm slovenly all through -body and soul! I won't care how I look or what company I keep in place of the friends who will surely drop me. PI take up your life here, and my face'll grow flabby and my 400 THE TR UTH heart dry and my spirit fogged, and I'll have nobody to thank for the dead end but myself ! ROLAND. But I won't have it! You've got to go back to Tom to-night! You were happy enough with him this afternoon! He's been a wonderful husband to you and I know the run of them ! I don't blame him for not wanting me around, - a father-in-law who was a disgrace to his wife. He did right to keep me here where I'm an old story and nobody cares. I'll own up to this now that you want to turn your back on him. But you shan't do it! You shan't break up his home with a beastly scandal and spoil your whole life and perhaps his, all in one hys- terical hour! Listen! [He goes to her and places his two hands on her shoulders.] It's true that no one was to blame for what I've sunk to but myself. Still, it's also true that in the be- THE TR UTH 401 ginning, perhaps, a great deal of patience, and more forgiveness, might have made both your mother's life and mine a little more worth living! [He turns aside, surprised by a welling up of an almost forgotten emotion. BECKY. You don't dream how every word you say cuts and saws into me! But I can't go back! ROLAND. You will. For if it comes down to this point, I won't keep you here! BECKY. But I can't go to a hotel! I haven't any money. ROLAND. I have enough for your ticket, and I'll take you to the station and send a telegram to Tom to expect you in the morning. BECKY. No, I can't - I can't. ROLAND. [Sternly.] You've got to I You can't stay here and I won't give you a cent to stay anywhere else! 402 THE TR UTH BECKY. You wouldn't turn me out into the streets! ROLAND. Yes, I will, if I must to force you to go back to your husband. [He gets her cloak. BECKY. [Rises, desperate.] Father! ROLAND. [Struck by her tone, pauses.] Well BECKY. [Drops her head and with a great effort speaks, her voice sinking almost to a whisper.] I haven't left Tom - it's Tom's left me - [A pause. ROLAND stands looking at her and her cloak drops from his hand, as he slowly takes in what she means. ROLAND. What do you say BECKY. Tom has left me-now you know why I can't go back. ROLAND. What for BECKY. He called me what mother called you. THE TRUsTH 403 He's lost confidence in me. He believes - there's some one else. [The last in agony of shame and grief. ROLAND. No wonder you made me worm out the truth! I wouldn't have believed it of you, Becky! I wouldn't have believed it of you! BECKY. [Frightened.] But it isn't true, father! ROLAND. Why didn't you tell me the right story in the beginning BECKY. [Aghast.] Father! don't you believe me ROLAND. You denied it to him, I suppose BECKY. Of course. ROLAND. And he turned you out all the same BECKY. He didn't turn me out; he only refused to stay in the house with me. I came away! ROLAND. Well, if your husband doesn't be- lieve in you, how can you expect me to, who've 404 THE TR UTH known all your life you couldn't tell the truth BECKY. Father, I've told you the truth now! For God's sake, believe me, for if you won't be- lieve me either, what will become of me ROLAND. I can help you better if you'll be honest with me. A man like Tom Warder isn't putting the wife he's been a slave to out of his life without good reason. [He turns away from her. BECKY. You said you knew the look in mi face when I lied, because it was your look. [Goes to him and stands close, lacing him.] Look in my face now and tell me what you see there. [She speaks very simply and clearly.] I love Tom and only Tom and never have loved any other man and have never been anything but faithful and true in my love for him. [ROLAND stands THE TRU7H 405 silently looking into her face, still unconvinced.] I stand with Tom exactly, father, where you stood the day mother left you - [His lace begins to change. A knock on the door Left. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Outside.] If Mis' Warder wants to catch that train, I hear the car coming! BECKY. [Breathlessly seizing hold of him with her two hands.] Father! ROLAND. Mrs. Warder's changed her mind. She's stopping here to-night. [Putting his arms about her. BECKY. Father! [Her tension gives way, and she lies limp in his arms, her slender body shaking with the emotion which now masters her as THE CURTAIN FALLS This page in the original text is blank. ACT IV MR. ROLAND'S rooms in MRS. CRESPIGNY'S flat, the following Monday. The sun pours in through the bow-window; folded bedclothes and a pillow are placed neatly on one end of the sofa. BECKY and ROLAND are having coffee together at the centre-table. The cloth is soiled, other things in the room are in disorder, and everything is decidedly unappetizing. ROLAND is wearing a slovenly bathrobe; a newspaper is propped against the coffee pot before him. BECKY. How horrid and messy everything is! ROLAND. [Who is smoking a cigarette as he 407 408 THE TRUTH eats.] Oh, you'll get used to it. Before you know it you'll like things best this way. BECKY. Not if I can help it. I shall fight against it. ROLAND. You think so now; you've only had one day at it. BECKY. To begin with, my dear father, you mustn't come to breakfast with me in that dis- gusting bathrobe. ROLAND. If you imagine for a minute I'm going to let you come here and upset everything to rob me of my comfort, you'll have your hands full. [MRS. CRESPIGNY is heard playing a piano in a jarther room through most ol the scene. Her repertoire is varied, and consists of an old waltz, a coon song, the "Melody in F," and "Waiting at the Church." THE TRU TH 40) BECKY. [With an eflort at a smile.] It will be another fight then, father, such as we used to have. Only this time I'm stronger by six years' life with a splendid character, which will help me bring you and myself up to Tom's level, rather than go down with you to this. ROLAND. [To change the subject.] Have you written Tom BECKY. [Sighing.] A hundred letters, I should think. ROLAND. And no answer BECKY. No, there isn't time. ROLAND. Yes, he could telegraph. BECKY. But I didn't send any of the letters. ROLAND. [Looking up from his newspaper You aren't eating anything. BECKY. [Rising in disgust, goes and sits in Morris chair.] Father, we can't live here, can we 0THE TRU7D' You must tell Mrs. Crespigny, and I'll find a little flat, just for us two - R()LAND. [Irritably.] I knew it would come to that! Not satisfied with upsetting Warder's existence and your own, you've got to come here and upset mine! No, sir! I'll marry Mrs. C. before I'll leave here. BECKY. That's a threat I know you won't carry out. I've had two long, long nights to think things over. I wish I could die, but I know one can't die when one wants to. I know sorrow, however heartbreaking, doesn't kill, - and I'm so horribly healthy I'll probably live forever. I may even have to stand aside and see Tom happy with some one else. Well, all the same I mean to live exactly as I would if I were still with Tom. I'm going to live as if every day, every hour, I was expecting him back. I'm 410 THE TRU TH4" going to live so that if he ever should come back to me -I will be ready to go home with him. [The music stops for a mnoment. ROLAND. That's all very vcll for you, but I don't see why I should have to live a life to please Tom - just so you can leave me in the lurch when he comes back after you. The odds are pretty strong against his wanting me to go home with him too! I've never ridden yet according to his rules. and I don't intend to begin now. [Goes to far table in the bow-window and take. a fresh cigarette and changes his paper for another. BECKY. [Rising, takes the bedclothes from the sofa ] Don't forget, father, what little money we have is mine, so you'll have to live as I wish. And in the end I believe you'll thank me. [She goes into the bedroom. 41X1 THE TR UTH ROLAND. But in the beginning I'll damn you, and in the end too ! I'm too old a leopard to change my spots. [He makes himself comfortable in the Morri.s chair. BECKY. [Coming out of the bedroom.] I'm going to try just as hard as I can not to tell even little lies, no matter how small, just to see if I can't get into the habit of always telling the truth. Because he might come back, father, don't you think so Don't you think maybe he'll come back ROLAND. I'm doing my best to make him. BECKY. [Surprised and eager.] How ROLAND. Never mind how. I'll tell you if it works. BECKY [Piling the breakfast dishes on the tray.] I hoped he'd answer the note I sent by 412 THE TRUTH 413 Jenks, but he didn't. No; when Tom says a thing, he means it. I'm going out for a little while. [She places the tray on the table Left. ROLAND. Where BECKY. There's a small empty flat two doors below here; I'm going to look it over. I think it may do for us. [She goes into the bedroom. ROLAND. Don't be gone long, because I might need you. BECKY. [In the bedroom. ] For what ROLAND. To help receive Toml BECKY. [Coming out quickly.] Father! ROLAND. Don't get your expectations too high, but I telegraphed him yesterday to come here. [The piano is heard again, but stops during BECKY'S long speech. 4THE TR U TH BECKY. If he wouldn't come for me, he wouldn't come because you asked him. ROLAND. I feel if only you could get face to face with him, Becky, especially now when he's had time to think things over, to realize calmly, away from the heat of anger, that whatever your faults might be - BECKY. [Interrupts eagerly, going toward him.] Yes, yes - ROLAND. Lack of love for him and faithless- ness couldn't be among them. BECKY. Yes, if I could see him! [She kneels on the floor beside him, her arms on the arm oj the chair.] I feel that if there's left in the bottom of his heart - no matter how deep down - just a little love for me, if it's only the memory of what he once had, wouldn't my own love be some sort of a magnet to bring his back If I could 414 THE TR U THN 415 sit and talk to him, hold his hand, go back over our life a little, couldn't I make him see that I loved him - and only him, that what I'd done had been foolish - wrong not to do as he wished - but only that wrong - andI that I'e learned something by this terrible lesson And if I promised to try with all my might and main not to lie any more, if I promised I wouldn't be discouraged with failure if he wouldn't be, but would keep on trying, wouldn't he on his side try to have a little confidence again Wouldn't he let me come back into his life just for that trial anyway . . ROLAND. I think so. A man like Warder can't get over loving a woman all in a moment, especially if he finds out before it's too late he's misjudged her. Wrong as you may have been, we know you're not so wrong as he thinks. 416 THE TR UTh BECKY. But he won't come. You see you haven't heard from him-he won't come. [She goes up to the bow-windno and looks out. ROLAND. I'm a little worried myself. I told him to telegraph and said it was urgent. BECKY. How - urgent ROLAND. Well, my dear, as you say, if I had simply said, "Come and see Becky," of course he wouldn't have paid any attention. I had to make the telegram so he would come. BECKY. Yes, but how did you ROLAND. It was a stroke of genius! I said, "Becky is dying. Come at once!" BECKY. [Going to the sofa and sitting on it.] But I'm not dying. He'll find out as soon as he gets here. RoLAND. No, he mustn't. My idea was that he would think you had tried to kill yourself - THE TRUTH 417 don't you see It would rouse his sympathies - perhaps some remorse -and he would hurry on. [Dropping the paper carelessly on the floor, he rises. BECKY. But he hasn't! ROLAND. He couldn't get here till this morning; still, I ought to have had an answer to the tele- gram. [He goes into the bedroom. BECKY. [Rises and goes toward the opening.] And if he should come ROLAND. [Coming out of the bedroom in his shirt-sleeves, without the bathrobe.] Well, you must be careful not to give me away till you are solid with him again. You must be weak and ill - just getting over it - the doctor's saved you! Anyway, I thought that might bring him. BECKY. I don't like it. 4THE TR U TH ROLAND. [Going back into the bedroom offended.] I did my best! BECKY. But it seems to me as if I would be telling Tom a lie again. ROLAND. Not at all. I'm telling it. And besides, doesn't the end justify the means BECKY. I think Tom'd call it a lie. I don't want to do it! ROLAND. Well, if he comes in answer to my telegram, you've got to do it! BECKY. No, father, I won't! ROLAND. Nonsense! You can't get out of it. And, good Heavens, why should you, if it's going to give you back what you want and prevent a terrible upheaval [The piano is heard again- BECKY. Well, anyway, he hasn't answered, so perhaps he won't come. I'm going out. 418 THE TR UT7'H 419 [Gets her hat from table Left ROLAND. Don't be long in any case. He might have forgot to send word, or not have time, or even have suspected something and not answered purposely, and be coming all the same on this morning's train ! BECKY. [Putting on her hat.] I'll see the flat and come straight back. [She starts to go, stops and turns in the doorway.] Thank you, father, for trying to help me. If he only will come! [She goes out Left. ROLAND. [Lighting another cigarette.] Move into another flat ! To live with everything so filthy clean you can't be easy and let things go! Ta, ta to the bucket-shop, and never a cent to put on anything again! Nothing but cleanth and economy ! No, no, Stephen Roland, not at your age. [He stands gazing at a portrait of MRS. CRF6- 420 THE 7l UTH PIGNY on the Right wall, with a half-humorous expression of resignation, then crosses to the electric bell on the Left wall.] Listen, don't you hear wedding bells [He rings the bell.] Do you hear them, Stephen! [He rings again. The piano ofi stage stops.] Wedding bells! [He turns and walks toward the portrait again, nodding his head definitely. A knock on the door Left.] Come in - Jennie I [MRS. CRESPIGNY comes in. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Did you ring ROLAND. I believe I did. MRS. CRESPIGNY. What's the matter My piano-playing disturb Mis' Warder ROLAND. Oh, - is the pianola mended MRS. CRESPIGNY. Yes. The man said I worked the pedals too emotionally. ROLAND. I wanted to see you. THE TR UTH 421 MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Pulling her bell down and her marcel wave out.] Well, I'm visible! ROLAND. Mrs. Crespigny, I'm in trouble. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Going to him.] Now look here, Mr. Roland, true as Gospel I can't let you have another cent, not before the first of the month. Your daughter's here now; you've got to go to her. ROLAND. Not so fast, please! It isn't money. At least that isn't this moment's trouble. My daughter and her husband have quarrelled. MRS. CRESPIGNY. I suspected something was wrong. [She starts, aghast and angry at a new idea which comes to her.] She don't mean to come here and live ROLAND. No, she wants to take me away to live with her. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Didn't I always tell you 422 THE TRUTH she'd separate us if she could! Now show youi character! I guess you're your own boss, ain't you You won't go, Mr. Roland ROLAND. But you see if they don't make up their quarrel, my allowance stops and I won't have a cent. I'll have to live where my daughter wants me. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Taking from the bosom of ler shirt-waist a second hand natural rose with a wired stem, and destitute o0 green leaves, she twists the wired part nervously about.] Why ain't one woman's money just as good as another's for you to live on ROLAND. Mrs Crespigny, you've come straight to the point, and you've come pretty bluntly, but that's just as well in view of the poor figure I cut in the matter. [He turns up toward the centre-table and places THE TAU 423 on it his newspaper, which he has picked up from the floor. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Why, I think, considering your age, your figger's great! ROLAND. [Looking at her despairingly.] I spoke figuratively! Now I'm doing my best to bring about a reconciliation. Of course, if I succeed, I can keep on living here just as usual - I'll have my allowance. MRS. CRESPIGNY. But if you don't bring about the reconciliation . . . ROLAND. Well, in that case, frankly, I should have to leave you or marry you! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Going to the table.] Look here, Mr. Roland, I want this in black and white' Are you proposing to me ROLAND. Well, Mrs. Crespigny, in a way - MRS. CRESPIGNY. But there's a string to it 423 THE TR UTH ROLAND. You know you have once or twice delicately suggested that a marriage wouldn't be altogether disagreeable to you, but it's a poor bargain for you, and in case the proposal should ever be definitely made, I want to be sure you know what you're getting! MRS. CRESPIGNY. I guess I know well enough. I ain't lived in the same flat with you for four solid years without finding out whether or not you was worth it to me. I know your faults, Mr. Roland, but they're swell faults. ROLAND. [He goes to the table in the window to get a cigarette.] Mrs. Crespigny, suppose you keep to the point, which is, if I marry - if you marry me, you do it with your eyes open. I'm to have all the liberty I've ever had. None of my habits are to be interfered with, none of my ways of spending money. 424 THE TRU TH 425 MRS. CRESPIGNY. All right. I know I won't be marrying a hero, but I'll be getting a high- toned name and the company I want for keeps, for if once we're married, your daughter nor nobody else won't sneak you away from me, and you canrl get nothing in this world for nothing. [She sits Right of the table wit/i a lugubrious expression on her poor powdered lace. ROLAND. Very well, then, [Coming down to her.] if there's no reconciliation to-day, we'll consider it settled without another word. MRS. CRESPIGNY. And if she does make it up with her husband ROLAND. We'll let that stand for the present. I would still have my allowance and I wouldn't have to leave the flat. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Then, so far as I'm concerned, 426 THE TR UTH - and I don't make no bones about saying it, - I'd rather they kep' separate. ROLAND. Don't be selfish! I think you'll win without that. [He lilts her head tenderly, smiling sweetly; then, as he turns away Irom her the sweetness jades, and he looks at least twenty years older. MRS. CRESPIGNY, happy but em- barrassed, tears the jaded rose to pieces petal by petal.] I don't understand it. I ought to have had a telegram long ago! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Starts and rises.] A tele- gram! My stars! this telegram came before you was up and I forgot all about it. [Giving him a telegram. ROLAND. That won't do! You'll have to be more thoughtful than that! [Reading the tele- gram.] He's coming! He's due here any minute I THE TRUTH 427 And Beck out! Quick! help me make this look like a sick room. MRS. CRESPIGNY. A sick room ROLAND. I'll put this chair here for Becky to sit in! [Moving the Morris chair near to the table. MRS. CRESPIGNY. And I'll put a towel on the table. [Getting one /rom the bedroom.] But why a sick room, Mr. Roland! Who's sick ROLAND. That's how I got him here. Tele- graphed Becky was dying - and it's worked - he's coming! MRS. CRESPIGNY. YOU ought to have some bottles for medicine ! ROLAND. Bottles Here's a couple! [Getting a whiskey bottle and a brandy bottle from the sideboard. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Taking the bottles from THE TRUTH him.] You don't want him to think she's been on a spree, do you [She puts them on the table Left.] Put a glass of water on the table. [He gets a glass from the sideboard.] And I'll put this saucer and spoon on top - that'll look like homeopathic stuff. [She places a saucer on the table and breathes on the spoon and polishes it on a corner of table-cloth. ROLAND gets a pillow and a blanket from the bed- room and arranges them in the Morris chair.] Do you know what we ought to have on that table An orange on a plate! I don't know why it is, but it always looks like sick folks, having an orange on a plate by 'em ! Wait a minute. I've got a marble orange just like real. I'll get it. I'll take the tray. [MRS. CRESPIGNY with the tray at the door Left.] Josephine! Josephine! Oh, never mind if your hands are in the suds! [Ro- LAND gets a hassock, which he places in front of 428 TEH TR' UTH the Morris chair. He pulls down the window-shades, takes the siphon, and fills the glass on the table, putting the saucer and spoon on top of it. MRS. CRESPIGNY enters with an imitation orange on a plate.] Here it is! And I brought a knife with it - don't it look natural [The front bell rings. ROLAND. Becky! MRS. CRESPIGNY. No - I let her take the key I ROLAND. Maybe it's he! And Becky not back! Don't let Josephine open the door yet! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Opens the Le/t door and calls.] Josephine! Josy! I'll tend door; you go on with your washing! [She shuts the door. ROLAND. Show him here - MRS. CRESPIGNY. Huh, huh ROLAND. And I'll tell him the doctor's with Becky - 429 430 THE TRUTH MRS. CRESPIGNY. Huh! huh ROLAND. Then you watch for her, and when she comes, knock on the door and tell me the doctor's gone - MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Doubtjully.] Huh, huh - ROLAND. Then I'll go " to find out if she feels able to see him," and bring her in as if from hei bedroom. [He goes to the Morris chair and arranges the. pillow and blanket. MRS. CRESPIGNY. It's lucky I don't have to tell him all that! You know, I haven't got your --imagination / ROLAND. That's all right - you'll see, - they'll be reconciled ! (Gets a Ian from behind the book-rack on the back wall and puts it on the table. MRS. CRESPIGNY. Reconciled! THE TRUTH 431 ROLAND. Yes, yes, thev'll be reconciled I MRS. CRESPIGNY. Our marriage is as good as off then! ROLAND. Yes, yes-I mean we'll see! [The front bell rings again.] Don't keep him waiting - he might get suspicious! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Turning the matter over in her mind, speaks very abstractedly.] Our mar- riage is as good as off then ! [She goes out slowly, weighing this sudden corn- piwation in her aflairs. ROLAND. Well, you never know your luck I No, no, don't close the door I I'll be here, expecting him. MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Off stage.] How do you do WNoi't you come right in [WARDER enters ROLAND. So you've come, Tom 2THE TRUTH WARDER. [Very serious.] How is she, father ROLAND. The doctor is with her now. Mrs. Crespigny will let me know when he's gone. I haven't let her know I telegraphed you. WARDER. But will she get well Is she no worse ROLAND. We have every hope of her getting welL WARDER. [He turns aside to control a sudden flood of emotion.] Thank God! ROLAND. I think a good deal now depends upon you. [WARDER faces ROLAND. ROLAND goes to him.] Are you ready to take my daughter back WARDER. [Very quietly, soberly.] Yes. ROLAND. For good WARDER. If I can only feel sure Becky will try - only try - to be straightforward and honest 432 THE TR U Ty 433 with me, that's all I ask. God knows what I've suffered these two days, and when your message came -oh, to have that on my.shoulders too - it would have been more than a man could bear! ROLAND. Whatever Becky's faults may have been, you did her one terrible injustice! WARDER. Yes, I know that now ! Becky, -never! Father, hour after hour since the one in which I left her, I've paced up and down my room, or sat and gritted my teeth in the train, and thought - and thought - and thought - till the anger died out of me and I began to see things white and clear both ahead and behind me. And all the time Becky's final words kept ringing in my ears, and they rang rite: "I love you, and only you, and you always." . . . And the further away from the excitement and anger I got, the saner I grew. And as I passed over our life to- 434 THE TRUTH gether, second by second of happiness, I found only proof after proof of her love for me! Yes, I did Becky one great injustice, and I want to ask her to forgive me. ROLAND. [His better self moved. Takes Tom's hand.] Tom - WARDER. After all, life is made up of com- promises and concessions, and if Becky will only try, and let me help her - ROLAND. I believe you love her still WARDER. I can only answer you by saying that I want more than anything else in the world to believe in her again - to have at least the begin- ning of confidence. [With a knock on the door, MRS. CRESPIGNY comes in, frightened at what she is going to do. ROLAND hesitates one moment, but his old habit soon reasserts itself. THE TR UTH 435 ROLAND. The doctor gone [MRS. CRES- PIGNY nods her head.] Excuse me. [He hurries out Left. MRS. CRESPIGNY stands looking after ROLAND, evidently trying to nerve herself up to the task of telling WARDER the truth. She makes several inefifectual gasp- ing efforts to speak, and finally gets started, rushing her words and not daring to speak slowly for fear she'd stop. MRS. CRESPIGNY. I'm going to do something awful, and I only hope I won't be punished for it all the rest of my life. Lord knows, seems as if I'd been punished enough in advance. Can I trust you WARDER. In what way MRS. CRESPIGNY. As a gentleman. If I tell you something - something that you ought to 436 THE TRUTH know -will you promise to see it through and not let on I told you WARDER. I don't know if I can promise that. Is it anything you have a right to tell me MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Going toward him.] It won't do you no harm to pertect me, and I give you my sacred word of honor it's the truth instead of the lie you've been told! And all I ask is that you'll per- tect me as regards Mr. Roland. WARDER. [Astounded, bewildered, but his sus- picions rearroused.] What lie Go on. I give you the promise! MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Whispers.] She ain't sick! WARDER. Who MRS. CRESPIGNY. Mis' Warder! She ain't been sick - that was all a story to get you here I WARDER [Catching her two hands by the wrists THE TRUTH 437 and holding them tight, so she can't get away from him.] No! don't say that! MRS. CRESPIGNY. Ssh! I will say it! It's true! The doctor wasn't here when you came! Mis' Warder was out and only came in when I knocked on the door just now! WARDER. Do you realize what you're saying MRS. CRESPIGNY. Perfeckly ! WARDER. And you're telling me the truth MRS. CRESPIGNY. Keep your eyes open and judge for yourself, that's all! Maybe you think that's the truth! [Snatching up the imitation orange from the table, she smashes it on the floor. WARDER moves to go; she stands in front of the door to stop him. WARDER. Let me go! I won't stay for this brutal farce! 438 THE TR UTH MRS. CRESPIGNY. You promised to pertect me, and if you go now Mr. Roland'11 catch on, and I want him to marry me! Now you know- WARDER. Was this his idea or hers MRS. CRESPIGNY. His, and she - [Listens. WARDER. [Eagerly.] She what- MRS. CRESPIGNY. [Moving away from the door.] Ssh! they're here! [WARDER controls himself and goes to the other side of the room. ROLAND comes, bringing BECKY, who leans on him. Her eyes are down. WARDER stands immovable and watches. ROLAND. [Pointedly.] Thank you, Mrs. Cres- pigny. [She goes out unwillingly. BECKY looks up and sees WARDER. He stands motionless, watch- ing her. THE TRUTH 4 BECKY. [As she meets WARDER'S eyes, breaks away from ROLAND.] No, father! I can't do it! I won't do it! ROLAND. [Frightened.] Becky! BECKY. No! I tell you it's only another lie and a revolting one! ROLAND. You're ill ! You don't know what you're saying! BECKY. No, I'm not ill, and you know it, and I haven't been! And if I can't win his love back by the truth, I'll never be able to keep it, so what's the use of getting it back at all [The tears fill her eyes and her throat. WARDER. Becky ! [He wants to go to her, but still holds himself back. His face shows his joy, but neither BECKY nor ROLAND see this. BECKY. [Continues alter a moment, pathetically.] 439 440 shgTHE TRUTH I thought I might creep back, through pity, first into your life, and then into your heart again. But, after all, I can't do it. [She sits in the Morris chair, hopelessly.] Something's happened to me in these two days - even if I tell lies, I've learned to loathe them and be afraid of them, and all the rest of my life I'll try - WARDER. [In a choked voice.] Thank God I [He goes to her, almost in tears himself. Ro- LAND looks at WARDER, and realizes what it means; a smile comes over his own face, and at the same time his eyes fill with his almost- forgotten tears. BECKY. You can't forgive me! WARDER. We don't love people because they are perfect. [He takes her two trembling hands in his, and she rises. THE TRUTH 44 BECKY. Tom I WARDER. We love them because they are them- selves. [And he takes her in his arms close to him, as the final CURTAIN FALLS This page in the original text is blank. THE CITY A MODERN PLA Y OF AM[ERICAX LIFE IN THREE A CTS COPVRIGHT, 1915, Bv LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY, AND ALICE M1. FITCH. This play is fully protected by the copyright law, all requirements of which have been complied with. In its present printed form it is dedicated to the reading public only, and no performance of it, tither professional or amateur, may be given without the written permission of the owner of the acting rights, who may be addressed in care of the publishers, Little, Brown, and Company. THE CITY ACT' I. MIDDLEBURG, NEW YORK. The Library in the RAND House. ACT IT. NEw YORK Ci' rY. The Library in the RAND House. Several Years Later. ACT III. THE SAME. A Few Hours Later. This page in the original text is blank. THE PERSONS IN THE PLAY GEORGE D. RAND. GEORGE D. RAND, JR. MRS. RAND. TERESA RAND. CICELY RAND. ALBERT F. VORHEES. ELEANOR VORHEES. GEORGE FREDERICK HANNOCK. DONALD VAN VRANKEN. SUSAN. Maidservant in Middleburg. JOHN. The coachman in Jziddileburg. FOOT. Butler in New York. This page in the original text is blank. Originally produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, December 22, i909, with the following cast: George D. Rand . George D. Rand, Jr. Mrs. Rand . Teresa Rand ..... Cicely Rand Albert F. Vorhees Eleanor Vorhees . George Frederick Hannock Donald Van Vranken Susan . John. Foot. .... . . . A. H. Stuart .Walter Hampden Eva Vincent ... . . .Lucile Watson .... . . .Mary Nash George Howell ... . . .Helen Holmes ... . . .Tully Marshall Edward Emery Jane Gail ... . . . . .John Jex .Fred Courtenay This page in the original text is blank. ACT I SCENE: At the RANDS'. The library of a substan- tial house in Middleburg. Front doors open out into the "front hall." It is furnished in a "set" of rosewood furniture, upholstered in brown and red figured velvet. The walls are covered with dark maroon wall-paper, with framed photographs of Thorwaldsen's "Four Seasons," and over the mantel there is an en- graving of " Washington Crossing the Delaware." A rocking-chair and an armchair are in front of the grate fire. Lace curtains and heavy cur- tains are draped back from two French windows that look out on a covered piazza. There are a desk, a bookcase with glass doors, a "centre 451 THE CITY table " on which stands a double, green-shaded "Student's lamp," a few novels, and some maga- zines. Near the bookcase is a stand holding a "Rogers' Group." There are jars and bowls filled with flowers everywhere. RAND enters with the New York evening papers, The Post, The Sun; he half yawns, half sighs with fatigue. He starts to make his arm- chair ready before the fire; stops and goes over to his desk, where he finds a letter which he dislikes, recognizing the handwriting. RAND. [Angry.] Yes, still keeping it up, the young blackguard! [He tears the letter in two, and throws it into the fire without reading it. He watches it burn a second, lighting a cigar; then takes his papers, makes himself comfortable in his chair before the fire, and starts to read, 452 THE CITY After a second, MRS. RAND and CICELY, a very pretty girl of about seventeen, enter. MRS. RAND carries a pitcher of water, scissors, and a newspaper. CICELY has her arms full of yellow tulips and a big bowl. MRS. RAND. Why, father! Aren't you home early Teresa's train won't be in for an hour or so yet. [MRS. RAND, filling the bowl with water, spreads the newspaper on the table; then cuts off the stems, and hands the flowers one by one to CICELY, who arranges them. RAND. I felt tired to-day, Molly. My head bothers me! MRS. RAND. [Going to him with affection and solicitude.] Why don't you lie down [She lays her hand on his head.] You haven't any fever. [She kisses his forehead.] You're just over- 453 454 THE CI T Y tired! [He pats her hand affectionately, and holds it.] When are you going to give up business entirely, darling, and leave it all to George RAND. Never, I'm afraid, dear. [Letting go her hand.] I've tried to face the idea, but the idleness appalls me. CICELY. Mother, have you the scissors MRS. RAND. Yes, dear. [Joins her, and continues with the flowers. RAND. Besides, George is too restless, too dis- contented yet, for me to trust him with my two banks! He's got the New York bee in his bonnet. CICELY. [Glances at her mother before she speaks.] Oh! We all have that, father, - except you. RAND. And mother! CICELY. Hurnph! Mother's just as bad as the rest of us. Only she's afraid to say so. THE CITY [Smiling.] Go on, mother, own up you've got villiageitis and cityphobia! MRS. RAND. [Smiling.] I dare, only I don't want to bother your father! RAND. That's the effect of George, -and Teresa. I've noticed all the innuendos in her letters home. Europe's spoiled the girl! The New York school started the idea, but I hoped travel would cure her, and instead-! MRS. RAND. Wait till you see her. Remem- ber, in spite of letters, what a year may have done for her. Oh, I'm so eager to see her! What a long hour this is! [The telephone bell rings out in the hall. MRS. RAND goes out and is heard saying, "Hello! Yes, who is it Oh, is it you, Katherine " RAND. [Reading his paper.] Who's that talk- ing to your mother 455 456 THE CI TY CICELY. One of Middleburg's Social Queens, Mrs. Mulholland - known in our society as the lady who can wear a d6collet6 gown, cut in accordance with the Middleburg limit, and not look as if she'd dressed in a hurry and forgotten her collar! [RAND laughs. MRS. RAND. [Of stage.] Really! I should think she was much too old to be so advanced in the styles as that! CICELY. The flowers are lovely all over the house. Father, you ought to see them! They came from a New York florist. [MRS. RAND oj stage: "Good-by. See you at five."] Our man here hadn't anything but ferns and aniline-dyed pinks. MRS. RAND. [Reenters.] Kate Mulholland called up to tell me Mary Carterson's mother-in- THE CITY 457 law is visiting her from South Norwalk, and went down street this morning wearing one of those new washtub hats, -and she's sixty, if she isn't over! She was born in i846, -at least she used to be! RAND. [Still reading.] When do you expect your crowd to come this afternoon CICELY. Crowd [She lauo hhs derisively. l The only thing that can get a crowd in Middle- burg is a fire or a funeral! MRS. RAND. As we expect Teresa at four, I asked everybody to come in at five. But you know, father, "everybody" in Middleburg isn't many I CICELY. Not many - nor much I RAND. You have the best the town affords, and it's good old stock! CICELY. I'm afraid Tess'll think it's rather THE CITY tame for a girl who has been presented at two European courts ! MRS. RAND. Yes, I'm afraid she'll find it awfully dull. Don't you think, father, we could go to New York, if only for the winter months RAND. Don't tell me -you're ambitious, too MRS. RAND. Well, I've done all, in a social way, a woman can in Middleburg, and I want to do more. CICELY. YOU can't tell the difference in Middleburg between a smart afternoon tea and a Mother's Meeting, or a Sunday-school teacher's conclave, or a Lenten Sewing Circle, or a Fair for the Orphan Asylum, or any other like "Event"! It's always the same old people and the same old thing! Oh, Lord, we live in a cemetery! RAND. Molly, wouldn't you rather be it in Middleburg - than nit in the City 458 THE CI TY 459 MRS. RANT). But with your influence and our friends,- we'd take letters, - I would soon have the position your wife was entitled to in the City, too. CICELY. I don't care a darn about the posi- tion, if I can only have something to do, and something to see! Who wants to smell new- mown hay, if he can breathe in gasolene on Fifth Avenue instead! Think of the theatres! the crowds! Think of being able to go out on the street and see some one you didn't know even by sight!! RAND. [Laughs, amused.] Molly! How can you deceive yourself A banker from a small country town would give you about as much posi- tion as he could afford to pay for on the West Side, above Fifty-ninth Street. MRS. RAND. But, George said you'd been THE CITY asked to join a big corporation in New York, which would make the family's everlasting for- tune, and social position beside. RAND. [Looks up, angry.] George had no right telling you that. I told him only in con- fidence. What is this anyway, - a family con- spiracy CICELY. No, it is the American legation shut up in Peking, longing for a chance to escape from social starvation. RAND. [Thoroughly irritated.] Now listen! This has got to stop, once and for all! So long as I'm the head of this family, it's going to keep it's head and not lose it! And our home is here, and will be here, if to hold it I have to die in harness. MRS. RAND. [Going to him affectionately.] Father, don't be angry! You know your will is 460 THE CITY law with all of us. And so long as you want it, we'll stay right here. CICELY. Giving teas to the wallflower brigade, and dinners to the Bible class! And our cotil- lion favors will be articles appropriate for the missionaries' boxes! Oh, Lord! RAND. Mother, Cicely has convinced me of one thing. CICELY. [Delighted.] Not really! Good! What RAND. You go to no finishing school in New York I You get finished all you're going to, right here in Middleburg. New York would com- pletely turn your head! CICELY. Well, don't worry; Middleburg will "finish " me all right! Good and strong' Maybe New York would turn your head, but Middleburg turns my - 46i 462 THE CITY [She is going to say "stomach," but her mother interrupts. MRS. RAND. Cicely! [Enter GEORGE. He is a handsome, clean-cut young American, of about twenty-seven. GEORGE. Hello, everybody! RAND. [Surprised.] Hello, George! What's the matter It's only half past four! Noth- ing happened in the office GEORGE. Nothing! All day! That's why I am here. I thought I'd be in good time for Tess; and, so far as missing anything really doing in the office is concerned, I could have left at ten this morning - [adds half aside] or almost any morning, in this - our city I CICELY. Look out! The word "city" is a red rag to a bull with father, to-day: And it's for good in the graveyard! I'm going to dress. THE CITY Thank the Lord, I've actually got somebody new to look smart for, if it's only my sister! [Yawns and starts to go. RAND. Who's coming to your tea party CICELY. [1 5 she goes out.] All the names are on the tombstones in the two churchyards, plus M s s Carterson's mother-in-law from South Norwalk' MRS. RAND. I must dress, too. [Going over to RAND.] Dear, aren't you going to change ycur coat, and help me RAND. Oh, Molly, don't ask me to bore my- self with your old frumps! MRS. RAND. I have to! And I don't know that I take any more interest than you do in what sort of a hat Mary Carterson's mother is wearing' But if it were in New York - RAND. [Sneers.] Stop! I meant what I said - let's drop that! 463 464 THE CITY MRS. RAND. All right, -I didn't say any- thing! GEORGE. Look here, father, -mother's right. RAND. [Interrupting.] No, you do the "look- ing," George, - and straight in my eyes I [He does so.] Your mother's wrong, but it isn't her fault, -it's you children. MRS. RAND. [Remonstrating.] Now, father - GEORGE. But we're not children, and that's the mistake you make! I'm twenty-seven. MRS. RAND. Yes, father, you forget, - George is twenty-seven! GEORGE. I'm no longer a boy I RAND. Then why did you tell your mother about this offer I had from New York, when I told you it was absolutely confidential! And a man in business knows what the word "confi- dential " means. THE CITY 465 MRS. RAND. It was my fault; I wormed it out of George! GEORGE. Nonsense, mother! [To his father.] I told, because I thought you needed a good, big hump, and I believed, if all of us put our shoulders to it, we could move you. RAND. Out of Middleburg GEORGE. Yes! RAND. Into New York GEORGE. Yes! RAND. Listen, George, - GEORGE. [Going on.] What position is there for a fellow like me in a hole like this [RAND tries to interrupt. MRS. RAND. [Stops him.] No, father, let George have his say out! RAND. All right! Come on, George, we'li have it out now, -but this must settle it I THE CITY GEORGE. You grew up with this town. You and Middleburg reached your prime together, -so she's good enough for you. Besides, you are part of it, so you haven't any point of view, -you're too close! RAND. What's good enough for your father ought to be good enough for you. MRS. RAND. That's true, George. GEORGE. Grandfather Rand was a real estate dealer in East Middleburg, with an income of about two thousand a year. I notice your father's limit wasn't good enough for you! RAND. No, but my father turned me loose, without a cent, to make my own way ! Your father will leave you the richest man in your town, -with the best established name, with two banks as safe as Gibraltar behind you! GEORGE. But, I tell you, Middleburg and her 466 THE CITY banks are just as picayune to me, in comparison with the City and a big career there, as East Aliddleburg and real estate were to you in i86o RAND. Good God, how little you know of the struggle and fight I went through! GEORGE. No, sir! Good God - RAND. [Interrupting.] Don't swear before your father. I don't like it! GEORGE. Well, - what you don't realize is that I am just starving after a big fight and a big struggle - for even bigger stakes than you fought for! I'm my father's own son - [Going up to him with a sudden impulse of pride and affection, and putting his arm about his shoulder.] Accept this great city chance, father! There's millions in it, and no fight ! They're offering the position to you on a gold plate. All I'll ask of you afterward is to launch me. Give me a 467 THE CITY start; the rest will be up to me! All I'll ask you to do then is watch. RAND. No, I'm too old now. MRS. RAND. Now I must join in! It's ridic- ulous you calling yourself too old. Besides, it reflects on me! [Smiling.] Men and women of our age in the City dress and act just as young as their children, more or less. Old age has gone out of fashion! There's no such thing, except in dull little country towns I GEORGE. Exactly! That's just what stagna- tion in the small place does for you. Come to the City, father! It'll give you a new lease of life! RAND. No, I don't want to ! GEORGE. I wouldn't have the selfish courage to go on persuading you, if I didn't feel you'd be glad of it in the end. And besides, you're one against all the rest of us, - Mother, Teresa, 468 THE CITY 46 Cicely -we're all choking here, dying of exas- peration, dry-rotting for not enough to do I RAND. Not at all! It's only amusement and excitement you children are after, and you've inoculated your mother with the germ. MRS. RAND. No! If I'm restless and dis- satisfied here, it's my own fault. I sympathize with Teresa having to come back to this, after New York and all Europe. I'm tired, myself, of our humdrum, empty existence. I'm tired of being the leading woman in a society where there's nobodv to lead! I'm tired of the nar- row point of view here! I'm tired of living to-day on yesterday's news, and wearing styles adapted to what Middleburg will stand for! I sympathize with Cicely. I want her to have a chance with the real world -not our expur- gated edition! I know what she means when 469 470 THlE CITY she says the quiet of the country gets on her nerves! that the birds keep her awake! that she longs for the rest of a cable-car and the lullaby of a motor-bus! Yes, I want the City for myself, but even more for my children, and most of all for George to make a name and career for himself! RAND. You've all got an exaggerated idea of the importance of the City. This country isn't made or run by New York or its half dozen sisters! It's in the smaller towns, - and spread all over the country, - that you find the bone and sinew of the United States! GEORGE. But for a young man to make a career for himself -I don't mean in business only,-in politics, in- RAND. [Interrupting.] You don't need the City! What's the matter with here THE CIT 47 GEORGE. Look at what Bert Vorhees has done, going to New York! He's going to be District Attorney, they say. And how long has he been there Five or six years! I had a long talk with Eleanor Vorhees when she was here last month; it's wonderful what Bert's accomplished! And look at Eleanor herself! By George, she's the finest girl I've ever seen! RAND. Still, did Lincoln need New York Did Grant Did a metropolis turn out Mc- Kinley, or have anything to do with formingthe character and career of Grover Cleveland You're cheating yourself, if you're honest in your talk with me! All you want of the City is what you can get out of it, -not what you can do for it! GEORGE. No, you judge from your own point of view! Middleburg makes you look through 471 THIE CITY the wrong end of the opera-glass. You can't judge from my point of view. RAND. When you're my age, if you've kept as abreast of the times as I have, you'll be lucky. But if you're in New York, you won't have had time. There, you'll know one thing to perfec- tion - but only one - where your interests are centred! All city men specialize - they have to get success, and keep it! Every walk in life, there, is a marathon! But the worst of it is, the goal isn't stationary. It's like the horizon, -no man can reach it! GEORGE. But why blame the City RAND. Because the City turns ambition into selfish greed! There, no matter what you get, you want more! And when you've got more, at God knows what price sometimes, it's not enough! There's no such thing as being satis- 472 THE CITY fied! First, you want to catch up with your neighbor; then you want to pass him; and then you die disappointed if you haven't left him out of sight! MRS. RAND. I'm afraid your father's deter- mined. And forty years with him has taught me two things, - first, when he is determined, you might just as well realize it in the begin- ning; and second, in the end you're sure to be glad he was! RAND. Thank you, Molly. And I was never more determined than I am this time. MRS. RAND. [With a sigh of half-amused resignation.] Then I'll go and put on the dress I got in New York, which the dressmaker said I'd made her spoil in order that my neighbors at home shouldn't say I'd gone out of my senses. [She exits. 473 THE CITY GEORGE. Well, father, if you won't leave, let me go away! Let me go to the City on my own account. Bert Vorhees has been urging me to come for over a year. He says politics in the City are crying for just such new, clean men as ma. He wants me to help him; that, in itself, is a big opening. I won't ask for any help from you. Just let me go, as your father let you go, to work out, myself, my own sal- vation! RAND. Your own damnation it would be! No, sir, you stay here as long as I live and have any power over or influence with you. GEORGE. Suppose I'm stubborn as you are, and go, even if it has to be against your will. RAND. Look here, boy! You're trained in my methods, for my job. Those methods are all right for Middleburg, where I'm known and 474 TIHE CIT Y 475 respected. No one has been to this town more, in a civic way, than I have. The Park Street Congregational Church couldn't have been built, nor halfway supported as it has been, without my help; and I could go on for some length, if I liked, in much the same sort of strain. What I do in this town is right. But the public libra- ries of Middleburg wouldn't help me in the City, nor the Park Street Church be a sufficient guarantee for my banking methods, to let me risk myself in the hornet's nest New York is at present. GEORGE. [Almost laughing at the idea.] You don't mean you would be afraid of any investi- gation - RAND. Here, no! I've always kept to the right side of the line, but I've kept very close, and the line may be drawn differently here. My THE CITY conscience is clear, George, but my common sense is a good watch-dog. [The MAIDSERVANT enters. MAIDSERVANT. Here's a man says he has an appointment with you, sir. RAND. [Startled and a little angry.] No one has an appointment with me! MAIDSERVANT. Well, I didn't know! [Enter HANNOCK, during the speech. The MAIDSERVANT looks a little alarmed at what she has done, as she goes out. HANNOCK. [Very hard.] I told you, in the letter I sent here to-day, I was going to call this afternoon. RAND. I destroyed that letter without reading it,-as I have the last half dozen you've sent me. HANNOCK. That's what made it necessary for me to call in person! 476 THE CI T 47 [GEORGE looks from one to the other, dum- founded. GEORGE. Father RAND. [To HANNOCK, referring to GEORGE.] This is my son. I'm glad he is here, to be a witness. Go ahead! I take it, as you seem to be in the business, you've made yourself ac- quainted with the law of blackmail! HANNOCK. I know what you've already told me - but I don't give a damn! I've got noth- ing to lose, and nothing to get, except money, from you. You won't jail me, anyway, for you know a trial here would ruin you, no matter what happened to me! GEORGE. Here, you RAND. [Taking a step forward.] No, George! Keep your temper. This man says I ruined his mother - [In great shame and emotion. 477 478 THE CITY GEORGE. [To HANNOCK.] You liar I HANNOCK. Then why did he give her a regu- lar allowance till she died and why did he keep on giving to me -for a while! RAND. George, I feel badly. Get me some whiskey and water. [GEORGE hurries out. RAND, in rising anger:] I kept on giving to you, till I found out you were a sot and a degenerate blackguard -a drug fiend and a moral criminal. I kept on helping you after three houses of cor- rection had handled you, and one prison! Then I stopped! What was the use, - money was only helping you on ! HANNOCK. Still, for my mother's sake, you can't let me starve! You oughtn't to have torn up those letters; then you'd have had the black- mail in writing. I told you, if you didn't give me what I want, I'd print your letters to my THE CITY 479 mother right here in this town. The anti-saloon paper, that hates you for not joining its move- ment, would be glad to get them and show you up for a God damn whited sepulchre! RAND. [Quiet, controlling himself by a terrific effort.] And suppose that didn't frighten me! HANNOCK. I've just got on to something bigger yet, I can use by way of a lever! The two years you had me working in the bank, I kept my eyes open. If it hadn't been for the yellow streak in me, I guess I'd have made a banker, all right. I liked it, and I seem to catch on to things sorter by instinct. You were the big thing, and I watched and studied your methods to make 'em mine! RAND. Well HANNOCK. Yes! "Well," by God! I guess you realize just as plain as I do that those very THE CITY methods in New York, that have been raising hell with the insurance companies and all sorts of corporations, aren't a patch on some of your deals I know of! And I tell you, if there should be a State investigation in Middleburg, you'd go under as sure as I stand here; and if I had to go to prison, I'd stand a sure chance of passing you in the yard some day - wearing the same old stripes yourself. RAND. [In a paroxysm of rage.] It's a lie! It's a lie! Just to get money out of me! I told you, before you began, you'd come to blackmail! [He chokes. HANNOCK. Well, you know how to prove it! Have me arrested; charge me with it; and let the whole thing be thrashed out I [A second's pause.] Aw -you don't dare. You know you don't! 480 THE CITY 48 [Enter CICELY, looking girlishly lovely in a fresh white dress and corn-colored sash. CICELY. Father, aren't you going to dress- and help us [HANNOCK looks at CICELY, admiring her. RAND. Excuse me, Cicely, I'm engaged just now. CICELY. I beg your pardon. [She goes out. HANNOCK. [Following her with his eyes.] She's growing into a lovely girl, your daughter! It would be a pity - [He speaks in broken sentences. RAND. [Giving in.] How much do you want HANNOCK. I want two thousand dollars. RAND. For how long HANNOCK. For as long as it lasts I RAND. [With a reaction.] No, I won't do it! 481 482 THE CITY You'll gamble, or squander this in some low way, and be back before the week's out! What's the use! I can't keep this up for ever! HANTNOCK. [Bringing a pistol out of his pocket, quickly.] Do you see that [He puts it on the desk. RAND. [Greatly frightened.] Good God! HANNOCK. Don't be frightened! It's not for you. I'm no murderer! It's for myself. RAND. [Suffering from shock.] How do you mean HANNOCK. [Taking up the pistol, and handling it almost affectionately.] I'm never without it. And when I can't get anything more out of you, when I'm clean empty, - not a crust, or drink, or drug to be had, - then I'll take this friend to my heart, so - [Placing pistol over his heart. THE CITY 483 RAND. [Frightened, calls feebly:] George! HANNOCK. Oh, not yet! [Taking pistol from his chest.] I'm not ready yet. But remember, when you've signed your last check for me, you will be responsible for this. [He touches the pistol; then hides it quickly in his pocket, as GEORGE enters with whiskey and water. GEORGE. I'm sorry to take so long, but I had to persuade mother not to come with me, when she heard you were faint. And I thought you wouldn't want - RAND. Yes, quite right - [He drinks, excitedly, tremblingly, feebly. GEORGE. [To HANNOCK.] You can see my father is ill; surely, ordinary human feeling will make you realize to-day is no time for you to - 484 THE CITY RAND. [Interrupting.] It's all right, George. Hannock and I have had it out while you were gone. [Writing a check.] We understand each other now! HANNOCK. I've made my position quite clear to your father. RAND. [Giving HANNOCK the check.] Here- and for God's sake try to behave yourself! [Look- ing at him intently, with a strange, almost yearning look, as if he really cared whether HANNOCK be- haved himself or not.] Try to do right! HANNOCK. Thanks for your advice and money! [To GEORGE.] Good-by! RAND. Good-by! [GEORGE only nods his head, looking at HAN- NOCK with unconcealed dislike. HANNOCK gocs out. RAND sinks on his arms, his head falling on the table. GEORGE goes to him in alarm. THE CITY GEORGE. Father! RAND. I'm not well. I've felt dizzy all day. It was more than I could stand! GEORGE. I don't approve of your giving him money! Till you once take a firm stand, there'll never be any let up. RAND. But I owe it to him, George! I owe it to him. GEORGE. Nonsense! What sort of a woman was his mother RAND. She was a dressmaker in East Middle- burg; hadn't a very good reputation. I doubt very much if what he says is true. GEORGE. Well then RAND. Yes, but more than he knows is true I- and worse ! GEORGE. How do you mean RAND. Yes, the whole thing is more than I 485 486 THE CI T Y can carry any longer! I'm too old! Your younger shoulders must help me bear it, George. It breaks my heart to tell you, and shames me, George, but I must unburden myself. Besides, I need help - I need advice! And besides, you'll see how you can't go away and leave me alone here! [He rises in fear and excitement.] I'm your father, and you've got to stand by me and help me! I can't stand alone any longer! GEORGE. Father! [He goes to him. RAND. Promise me, George, promise me you won't leave me here! You'll stand by me! GEORGE. Yes, father, I promise you! RAND. [Sinks back exhausted into his chair. A second's pause.] That man who just left here don't know it, but - [He stops from dread and shame of finishing. THE CITY GEORGE. But what RAND. I'm his father! GEORGE. [Astounded.] That fellow's RAND. That fellow's! GEORGE. Then of course he knows it ! RAND. No, it would be a stronger lever for money than any he has used, and he doesn't hesitate to use the strongest he can find -or invent! In return for the financial arrangement I made with her, his mother swore he should never know. As a matter of fact, she was anxious, for her own sake, to keep it quiet. She moved to Massachusetts, passed herself off as a widow, and married a man named Hannock, there; but he died, and so back she came, passing off this boy, here, as Hannock's son! [HIe groans.] What a story for a father to own up to, before a son like you. [After a second's pause, 487 THE CITY GEORGE. Don't think of that! Don't mind me I After all, I'm a twentieth century son, you know, and New York at heart / RAND. Of course your mother's never dreamed. That I couldn't bear - GEORGE. That's right. Mother's not me,- she's nineteenth century and Middleburg! RAND. Now, you see I do owe this young man something. I can't shut my eyes to it! GEORGE. Yes. I'm even wondering, father, if you don't owe him - the truth I RAND. No, no, I couldn't trust him with it! GEORGE. Still, father, don't you owe it to him Even more than money! And don't you suppose he suspects it, anyway RAND. No, and he mustn't know-. He'd tell everybody! It would be my ruin; and your mother - break her heart, - and for what good 488 THE CITY 489 GEORGE. [With a sudden idea.] Father, why not come to the City and escape him RAND. Escape him! He'd follow! That's his hunting ground! When you came back home from college, I'd had him in the bank a courlIe of years. But I didn't want you two to meet, so I got him a good place in Boston. But in six months he'd lost it, and was mixed up in some scrape in New York! No! Remember, George, you gave me your promise you wouldn't leave me! You'll stay with me here. We must take care of this man, of course, for our own sakes, as well as his. I am his father! GEORGE. And I'm his brother, and Cicely and Tess are his sisters! It's hard lines on him' I can't help feeling, father, we owe him a good deal. RAND. You'll stand by me - so long as I live. [Excitedly.] Promise me solemnly! THE CITY GEORGE. I have promised you, father. RAND. And, if anything should ever happen to me, you'd look after - Hannock, wouldn't you, George GEORGE. Yes, father. I consider you - we -owe Hannock a future! RAND. But you'll keep my secret - promise me that, too! GEORGE. I give you my word of honor, father. RAND. [Half collapses and sways.] I feel so badly again! I - I'm going to my room to lie down. Don't let them disturb me till supper- time. [GEORGE goes to help him out. RAND smiles, though with an effort.] No, no! I'm not so far gone as all that, - not yet a while, boy, not quite yet -! [Goes out alone. GEORGE. [Coming back.] Who'd have thought it! Who'd have thought it I Father I 490 THE CITY 491 [A heavy fall is heard in the hall outside. GEORGE looks up, and then starts on, but stops and lifts his head suddenly to listen. A look of fright and dread is on his face. Then he turns to the door and walks into the hall. A moment after, off stage, he cries, "Father !" [The following scene takes place off stage. MRS. RAND. [In a voice of excitement.] What was it Father Did he faint [Calling.] James! James, bring me water, quick ! GEORGE. I'll telephone for the doctor. I'll get Dr. Hull from across the street. He'll be the quickest. [Passes by the door from Left to Right. The telephone bell is heard. The MAIDSERVANT hurries past the door with water.] Hello. Give me sixteen - MRS. RAND. [To MAIDSERVANT.] Is John in the kitchen having his supper 492 THIE CITY MAIDSERVANT. Yes, ma'am. GEORGE. Hello MRS. RAND. Tell him to come here to help us carry Mr. Rand into the parlor, and you come right back. MAIDSERVANT. Yes, ma'am. [She again goes hurriedly past the door from Left to Right, as GEORGE is talking. GEORGE. [At 'phone, of stage.] Is that you, Dr. Hull Can you come right over Father - looks to me like a stroke! Good-by. [Rings telephone bell, and passes before the door on his way from Right to Left. MRS. RAND. I've sent for John. I thought between us we could carry him. [MAIDSERVANT passes through hall from Right to Left.] Susan, get a pillow from upstairs, and put it on the sofa in the parlor, and send Miss Cicely. THIE CITE MAIDSERVANT. Yes, ma'am. [Before doorway, JOHN passes from Right to Left. GEORGE. Here, John! Father's very ill. John, we want to get him on to the sofa in the parlor. CICELY. What's the matter What is it, mother MRS. RAND. We don't know ourselves, dear, but we're waiting for Dr. Hull. GEORGE. You hold his head up, mother. And John - that's right! MRS. RAND. Give me the pillow, Susan, - help me. GEORGE. Cicely, go into the library, close the door, and wait for me. As soon as the doctor comes - [Front doorbell rings outside. MRS. RAND. There he is! Susan, go to the door. 493 494 THE CITY [Enter CICELY. She closes the door behind her, frightened, and leans against it, listening. CICELY. [Whispers.] He's dead,-I know it, - he's dead I [She carefully opens the door on a crack to listen. She sees MAIDSERVANT.] Susan! [MAIDSERVANT approaches in the hall beyond the half open door.] Was it the doctor MAIDSERVANT. [In doorway.] Yes, Miss. CICELY. What did he say MAIDSERVANT. I don't know, Miss. I didn't go in the room. JOHN. [Appearing in the hall.] Susan! [Whispers. CICELY. What is it, John What does the doctor say JOHN. [Embarrassed.] I - I - don't know, Miss. Mr. George'll tell you. He wants you, Susan, to telephone to his aunt, Mrs. Loring, THE CITY 495 and ask her to have word 'phoned round to the guests for this afternoon not to come. You're to say Mr. Rand has been taken suddenly ill, and will she come over at once. MAIDSERVANT. All right. [She goes. CICELY. Poor papa! He isn't dead, then [SUSAN is heard ringing the 'phone. JOHN. Mr. George'll tell you. [He goes off. MAIDSERVANT. Hello! Give me thirty-one, please. [GEORGE comes into the room to CICELY. CICELY. How is he GEORGE. Cicely! CICELY. [Frightened.] What MAIDSERVANT. [Heard outside.] Is that Mrs. Loring, please -this is Susan- THE CITY [GEORGE shuts the hall door; he puts his arm around CICELY. GEORGE. Cicely, father's dead. CICELY. Oh, George! [Bursts into tears. GEORGE. [Putting his arms around her again.] Cicely, dear, don't cry, little girl! Go upstairs to mother; she wants you. And stay with her till Aunt Nellie comes - CICELY. [Crying.] Oh, poor mother, poor mother! [CICELY goes out, lea7nng door open. MAIDSERVANT. [Off stage at the telephone.] Yes, ma'am. Good-by. GEORGE. Susan MAIDSERVANT. [In the doorway.] Yes, sir GEORGE. If any strangers come to the door to ask questions, tell them nothing. Do you know Mr. Straker 496 THE CITY MAIDSERVANT. No, sir. GEORGE. Well, he's on the evening newspaper here. He's sure to hear we've put off our little party, and come around to find out. If any one asks, never mind who, -you know nothing except that Mr. Rand was taken suddenly sick. That's all. You don't know how, or what it is. You .understand MAIDSERVANT. Yes, sir. GEORGE. All right. [Nods to her to go. She goes out. He walks over to the desk and looks where his father sat and stood.] Why, it was only a minute ago he was there, talking with me! It doesn't seem possible-that now- he's dead - dead - [he wipes the tears out of his eyes, and gives a long sigh; sinks in the seat] gone for good out of this life! I don't under- stand it! What does it all mean [He is star- 497 THE CITY ing straight ahead of him. Suddenly a thought comes to him and takes possession of him.] I know one thing it means for me! - [He rises and stands straight.] It means New York. [There is a tapping on the glass of the window. He doesn't hear it at first. It is TERESA, outside, tapping. She taps again. He looks up and sees her.] Tess!! [He hurries to the window and opens it.] Tess! [Embraces her enthusiastically. TERESA. I thought I'd stroll in and surprise you! It's the same old room ! - [smiling around, as she recognizes things] not a thing changed! - nor in the town, either, from the smelly old barn of a depot -past the same gay houses with the empty old iron urns, right up to ours, - bigger and uglier than all the rest! Nothing's changed! And oh, George, how can I live here 498 THE CITY 499 I'll never be able to stand it! I can't do it! I know I can't do it! [Kisses him again. GEORGE. Tess! You won't have to! We're going to live in New York! TERESA. George!! What do you mean GEORGE. We're going to live in the City! TERESA. Oh, George! You don't know how much that means to me! I can be married in New York, then! GEORGE. [Amazed.] Married! TERESA. Sh! That's my surprise! Heavens, how hard it's been to keep it out of my letters! I met him first in Egypt, and then he joined us at Nice, at Paris, and in London, and there he proposed. GEORGE. But who TERESA. I just told you! THE CITY GEORGE. [Smiling.] No, you didn't! TERESA. Oh! Donald Van Vranken. GEORGE. Don Van Vranken TERESA. Yes! Think what my position will be in New York! GEORGE. But Tess! He's the fastest fellow going! He's notorious ! Look at the scandals that have been more or less public property about him. It's the last one that drove him abroad, afraid of the witness bench! TERESA. Oh, you can't believe everything you hear! He's a handsome darling, and I love him, and he loves me, - so don't worry! GEORGE. But I can't help worrying ! Your happiness isn't safe with a man like Don Van Vranken. TERESA. Oh, come, you haven't been away from Middleburg enough! Here, maybe, the Soo THE CI TY 501 husbands do go to the altar like Easter lilies! But in the City, you don't marry a man for what he has or hasn't been; you marry him for what he is and what you hope he's going to be! But I did dread a wedding here -with his people and friends! How in the world did you per- suade father [A second's pause, as GEORGE suddenly comes back Uwith a terrific shock. GEORGE. Good God! I forgot! I've some awful news! TERESA. Mother-! GEORGE. No, - father. TERESA. What - not- GEORGE. Yes. To-day, - just a little while ago! Suddenly - in a second! His heart gave out -I was talking with him two minutes before. THE CITY TERESA. Oh, poor mother! Where is she Let me go to her! GEORGE. She's up in her room. TERESA. Mother! - [As she goes out in great distress, she is heard again in the distance.] Mother!! GEORGE. [Stands where she left him - alone -his head bowed. He straightens up, and lifts his head; and his face flushes with the uncontrolled impulses of youth and ambition. With a voice of suppressed excitement, full of emotion, and with a trembling ring of triumph, he says:] The CITY . . . ! TIE CURTAIN FALLS 502 ACT H SCENE: Several years later. The library in the RANDS' house in New York. The walls are panelled in light walnut. Two French windo-wvs, with the sun shining in, are on the Left. There are small doors, Right and Left Centre, opening into other rooms. Between the bookcases, which occupy most of the wall space, are marble busts, standing in deep niches. There are flowers about. The sofa, chairs, hangings, and cushions are of golden yellow brocade, except one big armchair, upholstered in red, standing itn front of the open wood fire. A Sargent portrait is built in over the mantel. A small typewriting table is at one side. Almost in 503 THE CITY the centre of the room, with chairs grouped near it, is a long carved table, with all the desk fittings of a luxurious but busy man; there is also a bunch of violets on it, in a silver goblet - and at present it is strewn with papers, etc. FOOT is arranging the fire. There is a knock at the door. HANNOCK enters. He comes in, in evident and only partly suppressed, nervous excite- ment. He wears a white flower in his buttonhole. HANNOCK. Hello, Foot. Is Mr. Rand out FoOT. Yes, sir. [Rises, having finished the fire. HANNOCK. He left no message for me FOOT. Yes, sir. He left some papers on the desk, which he said he'd like you to go over carefully, at once, and two letters he wanted you to answer. HANNOCK. All right. Get me a package of 504 TIHE CITY tongish papers, with an elastic band around them, in my overcoat in the hall. FOOT. Yes, sir. HANNOCK. Has the stenographer been here' FOOT. Yes, but he's gone; said he couldn't wait any longer, as he has an appointment. HANNOCK. [-Angry; making nervous, irritable movements.1 He'll be sorry ! I'll see to it he loses Mr. Rand's job, that's all, if he don't knuckle down to me! FOOT. Yes, sir. It's none of my business, but Mr. Rand didn't like your being late. He said you knew it was an important day for him, and he couldn't understand it. HANNOCK. He'll understand all right when I explain! It's an important day for me too! FOOT. [Eagerly.] Is he going to get the nomi- nation for governor, sir 505 THE CITY HANNOCK. Nothing surer! -except his elec- tion. That'll be a knockout, and then you'll see us both forging ahead. FOOT. I'm sure I wish you luck, sir. HANNOCK. Thanks! Oh, yes, I shall tie my fortune up to Mr. Rand's! FOOT. Yes, sir - [He goes out. HANNOCK. Yes, sir, [imitating FOOT] - damned "important" day for me, too! Phew! [A great sigh, showing he is carrying something big on his mind.] I wonder just how he'll take it I wish it was over. [He goes to the typewriting table, rumtnages in a drawer, takes out a little box, containing a hypodermic needle, and tries it; then, putting it to his arm just above the wrist, ha! presses it, half grinning and mumbling to himself, - 506 THE CITY looking furtively over his shoulder, fearing an interruption. Just as he finishes, the door opens. CICELY half comes in. She is in hat, gloves, etc. CICELY. [Half whispering.] You're back first. [He nods, hiding the hypodermic needle.] I've just this minute come in, and I didn't meet a soul. I've sent for Eleanor Vorhees -she's the best. [Enter TERESA hurriedly, in great and angry emotional excitement, pushing past CICELY. TERESA. Good morning, Cicely. Where's George CICELY. Give it up! [Following her in. HANNOCK. He'll be in soon, Mrs. Van Vran- ken. He's an appointment with Mr. Vorhees. [Enter FOOT. 507 THE CITY FOOT. I can't find any papers with an elastic band, sir. HANNOCK. [Irritated.] Oh, well, perhaps there wasn't a band! Use your common sense! I'll look myself. [To the ladies.] Excuse me. [Goes out, followed by FOOT. CICELY. What's the matter with you, Tess Don on the loose again TERESA. I don't know and I don't care! I've left him. CICELY. Left your husband I - for good Honest Or has he left you TERESA. What do you mean by that That's a nice thing for my sister to say! CICELY. My dear! - even donkeys - I mean sisters - have ears, - and you must know how every one has been talking about you and Jimmy Cairns! 5o8 THE CITY 509 TERESA. Well, if I can't depend upon my own family, I don't suppose I can expect my husband to protect me. CICELY. After all, what can Don say He can't find any fault with you I TERESA. Exactly ! - and I went to him, per- fectly calm and reasonable, and said very sweetly: " Don, I'm going to divorce you. We needn't have any disagreeable feeling about it, or any scandal. I will simply bring the divorce, men- tioning this woman" - CICELY. Mrs. Judly TERESA. Of course - but doing it as quietly as possible, behind closed doors, or with sealed papers, or whatever they call it. Only, of course he must give me the children! CICELY. Oh! - and he refused TERESA. A bsolutely refuses,-and to let me get 510 THE CITY the divorce as I propose! He will only agree to a legal separation, the children's time to be divided between us. That's all he'll stand for. CICELY. Let him agree to what he likes! You've got your case, all right. You could prove everything you want to, couldn't you TERESA. [Getting angry.] Yes, but he- Oh, the beast !-he dares to threaten! If I attempt to do this, he'll bring a counter suit, mentioning Mr. Cairns! CICELY. Tess! TERESA. You see! He ties my hands! CICELY. But not if he couldn't - TERESA. Sh-h! Let's talk about something else. I don't want that horrid Hannock to know anything. I despise him! CICELY. [On the defensive.] I don't know why! THE CI T 51 TERESA. Well, I'm not alone in my feelings. I don't know any one who likes him. CICELY. Yes, you do, because I'm one. TERESA. He always affects me like a person who would listen at keyholes! CICELY. Some day you'll be very sorry you said that. [HANNOCK reenters. HANNOCK. Mr. Vorhees is here with Miss Vorhees. CICELY. I asked Eleanor to come. [She goes out to greet them. TERESA. [To HANNOCK.] Let me know the minute Mr. Rand comes in. [She goes out. HANNOCK takes up letters on desk which are for him to answer, goes to the typewriting table, and sits down to write, reading over to himself one of the letters - mumbling the words. He laughs to himself. six 512 THE CITY HANNOCK. Ha! And I suppose he thinks this is legitimate business! - that this sort of a deal goes hand in hand with his "clean record," with his "white politics," with the Vorhees "good government." Humph! "Teddy, Jr." is a good nickname for him, - I guess not! The public would put George Rand in the Roosevelt class with a vengeance, wouldn't they! - if they were on to this one piece of manipulation! Following in father's footsteps, all right, and going popper one better! That's what! And he pretends to think his methods are on the level! All the same, I guess he is just as square as the rest of 'em. You can't tell me Vorhees isn't feathering his nest good! You bet I'm on to Vorhees! [He looks up, half startled.] Damn it, when am I going to stop talking in my sleep when I'm wide awake [Looking at the place THE CITY on his arm, and smoothing it over.] Too much of the needle, I guess! [Enter SERVANT with VORHEES. SERVANT goes out. VORHEES. Good morning, Hannock. HANNOCK. Good morning, Mr. Vorhees. You're ten minutes early for your appointment, sir. VORHEES. Mr. Rand is generally ready ahead of time. I thought I'd probably find him. HANNOCK. He isn't here yet. I hope he gets the nomination for governor! VORHEES. Well, I'm inclined to think it's all up to him now, Hannock, and that to-day will decide. HANNOCK. Isn't it wonderful how far he's got in barely five years! VORHEES. Well, it was Rand's good luck- 513 THE CITY to come along at the right psychological moment -the party tired of the political gambler, the manipulator. We wanted a candidate with just the freshness, the force and stability of a small town's bringing up. The whole of Middleburg, no matter what the party, will come forward unanimously, and speak for their young fellow townsman. His family is the boast of the place! His father's name stands for everything that's best and finest in public and private life, and, when George took hold in New York, with all the political vitality and straightforward vigor of his blood and bringing up, and not only helped along our reforms, but created new ones of his own, giving his time and his strength and his money to the public good! Well, you know what the man in the street's been calling him for a year now SI4 THE CITY 515 HANNOCK. [With a covert sneer.] " Teddy, Jr. I " VORHEES. Yes, "Teddy, Jr." That idea ought to land him in Albany, all right! HANNOCK. [lTith the bare suggestion of a bully's manner.] I hope, Mr. Vorhees, I haven't been altogether overlooked in all the enthusiasm. VORHEES. [With a big drop.] How do you mean HANNOCK. Well, I've been George Rand's right hand, you know! I've done my share of the work. Where do I come in on the reward end VORHEES. [Strongly.] I really don't under- stand you. HANNOCK. [Smiling, but serious and deter- mined, and speaking deliberately.] What do I get out of it VORHEES. [After a pause.] You get a damned THE CITY lot of pride in the man you've had the honor of serving, that's what you get! HANNOCK. [Angry at the snub, and suspicious that he is to be thrown down.] And a hell of a lot of good that'd do me! Look here, Mr. Vorhees, I might as well have my say out now! If George Rand wants to be elected Governor of New York, he and his electors have got to square me! VORREES. Why, you talk like a fool -or a scoundrel ! HANNOCK. Well, never mind what I talk like; I know what I'm talking about, and I say there's something good in the way of a job coming to his confidential secretary out of "Gov." Rand's election ! [VoRHEEs half laughs, half sneers, but still is slightly disturbed. GEORGE enters. GEORGE. Hello! Am I late -Sorry! 5I6 THE CITY 5I7 VORHEES. No, I'm early. Well! ! Can we have our talk GEORGE. [Smiling at himself.] I believe I'm nervous! Go ahead! Fire your first gun! [Takes a chair. HANNOCK also sits. VORHEES. [With a glance toward HANNOCK.] I'll wait, if you have any business to discuss with Mr. Hannock. GEORGE. No, nothing in a hurry; that's all right, go on - VORHEES. Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to talk with you privately. GEORGE. Certainly. Would you mind, Han- nock, waiting in - VORHEES. [Interrupting; to HANNOCK.] Elea- nor's in the drawing-room. Cicely sent for her; wants her advice, I believe, about something or other, very important I [Guying the latter with a smile. THE CITY GEORGE. Well, suppose you go to my room Hannock, and use the desk there. HANNOCK. [In a hard voice, reluctant to leave them.] Very good. [Rises, takes papers, and starts to go. VORHEES. [With the tone of a final good-by.] Good morning, Hannock. HANNOCK. Good morning, sir. [Stops at the door.] If I wanted to speak with you later on to-day, after I've had a talk with Mr. Rand, could I call you up on the 'phone, and make an appointment VORHEES. Certainly. HANNOCK. [In a satisfied voice.] Thank you. [Goes out GEORGE. Well VORHEES. How do you feel Eager, eh GEORGE. That depends on what I'm going to 518 THE CITY 519 get! I'm eager, all right, if you've come to tell me what I want to hear!! VORHEES. You're warm, as the children say! GEORGE. What wouldn't I give - that wNas honest to give - for this chance, not just to talk, not to boast, not to promise, only - VORIIEES. [Interruptinghim.] Exactly! That's exactly what we want-the man behind the gun in front of the gun! We don't want a Fourth of July orator only, in the Capitol! We want a man who'll be doing something, George! GEORGE. [Enthusiastically.] Every minute! VORHEES. We can hire a human phonograph to do the talking. The party's full of them! GEORGE. I want to make my name mean, in this whole country, what father's meant in that small, up-State town we came from I ! VORHEES. Your name can take care of itself. 520 THE CITY Don't think of any glory you're going to get! You'll get most by keeping busy for the good of the State, for the welfare of the people - GEORGE. [Eagerly, not waiting for VORHEES to finish.] I know! But I'm going to show the gods and the demigods, the rabble and the riff- raff, that one good lesson we've learned from the success of the last administration is that the real leader of a party must be its independent choice, and not its tool. VORIEES. [Approziwg.] Right! GEORGE. Machine politics are a back number. The public has got on to the engine, and smashed the works! VORHEES. Man is greater than a machine, because God's soul is in him. GEORGE. Yes, and what I'm going to show is that the soul of a political party is the uncom- promising honesty of its leader. THE CITY VORHEES. Don't always be emphasizing the leader; -let it go at the party's honesty! You're inclined, George, to over-emphasize the personal side of it! It's E Pluribus Unum, not E Pluribus me-umr! GEORGE. All right, all right! Only, don't forget that I've got an inordinate ambition, and you're dangling in front of my eyes the talisman that may land me, God knows how high! VORHEES. Well, come back to earth! Now, I've come here with the nomination in one hand - [GEORGE draws a long, excited breath. GEORGE. And a string in the other VORHEES. Yes. GEORGE. Well, give it to us! VORHEES. The Committee decided it was up to me! I've known you as a boy. You're going to marry my sister. We're brothers practically. 521 THE CI T Y I can speak frankly, without giving any offence - that's sure, isn't it GEORGE. Nothing surer! VORHEES. It's just this! Of course the min- ute you're nominated, our political opponents will get busy! The muckrakes are all ready! GEORGE. You bet they are, and the search- lights haven't any Foolish Virgins in charge of them. They're trimmed, all right, and filled with gasoline ! VORHEES. [Very seriously.] You can stand it, George GEORGE. I can. VORHEES. You've got a wonderful popularity, and the Committee believes in you, but it wants your word confirming its confidences, - that's all. GEORGE. That's the least it can ask. VORHEES. Is there anything in your life that 52 2 THE CITY isn't absolutely above board, George No skele- ton in your heart, or your cupboard It's safe for us to put you up You're sure not a particle of the mud they'll rake can stick GEORGE. Not a particle. VORILEES. Look back a little. Sometimes I think you're a little too cocksure of yourself. No man can be, absolutely, till he's been tried in the furnace, and you haven't been, yet. But we're getting the fires ready! [Smiles.] You're all right at heart, I'm sure of it. Nobody in this world believes more in you than I do, - [again smiling] except, perhaps, you yourself. But there's nothing, nothing that could be ferreted out You know they'll dig, and dig, and dig! ! GEORGE. But I give you my word of honor, so help me God, I've never done a dishonest or dishonorable act, or an act- 523 524 THE CITY VORHEES. [Interrupting.] In business GEORGE. [Hesitates just one moment.] You know what my father stood for, - and my busi- ness methods he taught me. I've gone ahead of him, of course, - gone on with the times, - but on the road father blazed for me! I've not deviated from a single principle. VORJEES. Good! I know what George Rand, Sr., stood for in Middleburg! That's good enough for me. And in your private life Oh, this is just going through the form; personally, I'd stake my life on your answer, and Eleanor's instinct would have kept her from loving you. GEORGE. I was brought up in a small town, in the old-fashioned family life that's almost ancient history in the bigger cities. I loved my father and my mother, and their affection meant every- thing to me. From their influence, I went THE CITY 525 under Eleanor's. You needn't have one worry about my private life. VORHEES. Of course I knew you were clean and above board, but different men have differ- ent ideas about some things. GEORGE. Listen, - I'm no little tin god! I'm as full of faults as the next man, but I'm not afraid to own up my mistakes; I'm not afraid to tell the truth to my own disadvantage; I'm not afraid to stand or fall by my sincere convic- tion! In a word, I'm game to be put to any test you or the party want to put me, and I'll stand straight as I know how, so long as there's a drop or a breath of life left in me! VORHEES. Then that's all! And unofficially - unofficially - I can tell you, barring the unexpected accident, the nomination is yours ! [Holding out his hand, he grips GEORGE'S in his. THE CITY GEORGE. Isn't it great It's wonderful I Oh, God, if I can only do it big I VORHEES. You mean do it well I GEORGE. [Taken aback only for a second.] Er - yes, of course - same thing! - Do half I dream of and want to! VORHEES. [Smiling.] Well -I'm taking any bets! ! GEORGE. I owe the whole business to you, you know, and I know it! VORHEES. Nonsense! With that overwhelm- ing ambition of yours! Perhaps I taught you your primer of politics, your grammar of public life; that's all-except that I'm a damned proud teacher!!! [Enter FOOT. FOOT. Mr. Van Vranken must see you at once, sir, - says it's very urgent. 526 THE CITY GEORGE. All right. VORHEES. Say in two or three minutes. FOOT. Yes, sir. [Goes out. VORHEES. There is just one more thing be- fore I can go. GEORGE. What VORHEES. Nothing that really concerns you, though it may cause you some inconvenience. The Committee thinks you'd better get rid of your secretary. GEORGE. [Astounded.] Hannock VORHEES. Yes, - he's no good! GEORGE. No good VORHEES. A damn rotten specimen. We've found out enough about him to make sure we don't want him mixed up with us in any way in the election. 5 27 THE CITY GEORGE. You - you take me off my feet! VORHEES. If you want more detailed informa- tion, ask any detective with tenderloin experi- ence. GEORGE. I've never liked him. I can't say I've really trusted him. And yet I laid my prejudice to a personal source. VORiIEES. He's dishonest besides. You can't have him in a confidential position. You couldn't help getting tarred with some of his pitch! GEORGE. But are you sure of what you say VORHEES. Sure! Why, just now, here, he showed me the hoof of a blackmailer. GEORGE. [Looks up quickly.] At that again! VORHEES. How do you mean "again" GEORGE. Explain to me what you mean. VORHEES. Oh, he didn't get far - we were interrupted! He put out a feeler, which was 528 THE CITY very like a demand, as to what he was going to get out of this election. GEORGE. [Carelessly, and not very loudly.] He needn't think I'm father ! VORHEES. [Not understanding.] What's that GEORGE. YOU leave Hannock to me. I'll take care of him ! VORHEES. You'll discharge him [A pause. GEORGE. No, -I can't. VORHEES. [Astonished.] How do you mean,- " can't. " GEORGE. I couldn't turn him out, if he insists on staying. VORHEES. Why not GEORGE. [A short second's pause.] That I cannot tell you - VORHEES. Look here, George! What hold has this man got on you 529 THE CITY GEORGE. On me personally, none. But I owe him a certain duty, and in a way he could do harm to - VORHEES. I thought you said you had no skeleton GEORGE. It isn't in my closet, but it concerns those that are nearest and dearest to me. VORHEES. Then you must risk sacrificing them, if you want the position. GEORGE. I'd have to sacrifice a memory, too, -and I haven't the right! VORHEES. If I went to the Committee, and said to them, - Rand refuses to dismiss Hannock; doesn't deny he may be a scoundrel; owns up, in fact, that his family is in some way in the man's power; says he himself is not; but still he doesn't dismiss him, - do you believe for a minute the Committee will go on with your nomination 530 THE CITY 53' GEORGE. No! For God's sake don't tell the Committee anything of the sort! Perhaps I can handle Hannock -beg him off! VORHEES. I don't like the sound of that. There's one thing about you I'm afraid of, George. You're one of those men who think wrong means are justified by right ends;-unsafe and dis- honest policy! GEORGE. I tell you he can't hurt me, George Rand -[after a second] " Jr." VORHEES. That don't do for the Committee. You can't handle mud and not - GEORGE. [Interrupting.] Very well, then if I can't buy him off, I will dismiss him! And the others must face the music! There's too much at stake for the future, to over-consider the past. VORHEES. All right! 532 THE CITY [Enter VAN VRANKEN, excited and angry; perhaps he's had a little too much to drink. VAN VRANKEN. Look here! GEORGE. Good morning, Don. VORHEES. Good morning. GEORGE. I'm very busy now. VAN VRANKEN. [With a jeer.] I won't inter- rupt you long! VORHEES. Would you like me to hunt up Eleanor and Cicely, and come back later VAN VRANKEN. Oh, you might as well stop. You're as good as in the family, now. You'll be sure to be asked to put your oar in! GEORGE. Sit down, Don, and cool off! VAN VRANKEN. I haven't time. I'm on the way to my lawyer! I understand my wife's here. Has she talked with you GEORGE. NO. I've been busy with Vorhees. THE CITY VAN VRANKEN. I know - the governorship! Well, your sister'll put a spoke in that wheel, if you don't side with me I GEORGE. What do you mean VAN VRANKEN. She threatens to take my children from me by bringing a suit for divorce, - mentioning Nellie Jud - Mrs. Judly. GEORGE. Well, can you blame her VAN VRANKEN. It's a pity you haven't gone out, once in a while, into the society that bores you so, and kept your ears open. GEORGE. What for VAN VRANKEN. You'd have heard a whisper, or caught a look that would have kept you from being surprised at what I'm going to tell you. GEORGE. What VAN VRANKEN. If your sister starts a suit against me, bringing in Nellie's-Mrs. Judly's 533 -name, I'll bring a counter suit against her, naming Jim Cairns I GEORGE. You drunken liar! [Going for him. VORHEES holds GEORGE back. VAN VRANKEN. You didn't know I could win. I wouldn't put such a stumbling block in the way of my little daughter's happiness! GEORGE. Liar!! [Struggles to free himself. VORREES. No, George! Even I've heard enough to wonder something of it hasn't come your way. VAN VRANKEN. [Thickly, whiningly.] All I ask for is a noiseless, dignified separation, - that's all I want, and God, I want that bad! Legal or not, as she wishes, - only she's got to agree to cut out Cairns. I give her this chance THE CIT Y 534 THE CITY for my little daughter's sake, - not for hers! But in another day, maybe, it'll be too late. I get my children six months of the year, and she the other six. I ask no more than I give,- that's fair! I'd like my complete freedom as well as she. So far as love goes, it's a pretty even thing between us! And when the children are grown up, and settled in life, she can do what she damn pleases, and good luck to her! VORHEES. I've heard the gossip, Van Vranken, but you know enough of our world to realize half that gets about, gets about wrong. GEORGE. Granted Tess has been foolish. That's bad enough, God knows! Still - I can't believe worse than that! I grew up with her, - I know her I VAN VRANKEN. You knew her before she came to New York. She hadn't developed yet, 535 536 THE CI TY in that mudhole you all lived in! There's no smoke without - GEORGE. Yes, there is! There's a smolder- ing that never breaks into a flame! And you know, Don, you've given every reason for Tess's heart to smolder, yes, and burn, too-though I don't believe it. While we're about it, let's finish the whole ugly business here, now. You're a drunkard, and your best friends are the most depraved crew in town, - a crowd that is used individually as markers to tally off each smart scandal that crops up. It never occurred to you, before you married Tess, that you would be faith- ful to her afterwards; and you didn't disappoint yourself. VAN VRANKEN. What right had she to be disappointed I never made any bluff or pose, and you all fought the match! She married me with her eyes open. THE CITY GEORGE. You had the glamour of the City about you. Tess was a real woman, full of good and bad; she was ready to be what the man she loved would make of her. And, poor girl, she married you ! VORIIEES. Well, all that's done. What about the present Van Vranken is right in saying any divorce scandal would endanger your elec- tion. We might lose the entire Catholic vote, and the support of the anti-divorce party, - both of which we're banking on. And besides, one of the strongest planks of our platform is the Sanctity of the Home! We're putting you up as the representative of the great section of the country which stands for the Purity of Family Life. We'd have to drop that platform, or be ridiculed off the face of the earth. And it doesn't seem right in any way to me! And it's not up to you to suffer for your sister. [To VAN 537 538 THE CITY VRANKEN.] If we persuade Mrs. Van Vranken to a dignified separation such as you want - VAN VRANKEN. And she gives her promise to call off Cairns-! GEORGE. [Quickly.] Tess will be as anxious to stop gossip, when she hears its extent, as you. I'll take that on my shoulders. [VAN VRANKEN looks at him, and half smiles cynically at his confidence. VORHEES. Very well! Will you, Van Vran- ken, be willing to hush the whole business up VAN VRANKEN. Glad to! VORHEES. Live on with Mrs. Van Vranken in your house as if nothing had happened VAN VRANKEN. No! Not by a damned sight! VORHEES. Come, don't be a yellow dog ! Do all or nothing. VAN VRANKEN. She left my house of her own THE CITY accord, and I've sworn she shall never put her foot in it again. VORHEES. Oh, well, what's an oath more or less to you! It will be only till after the elec- tion! Rand's nomination is practically settled on - VAN VRANKEN. Oh, I see! Why didn't you say that at first I've nothing personal against Rand. VORHEES. I'm sure Mrs. Van Vranken, on her side, will do all she can to protect his interests. VAN VRANKEN. I suppose I'll have to give in - VORHEES. Good I GEORGE. I'll see her now, if she's in the house. VORHEES. [To VAN VRANKEN.] I will com- municate something to you, after Rand has seen your wife. 539 THE CITY VAN VRANKEN. Very good. She took both the children when she left this morning. One child must go back with me now. VORHEES. Both must go back, to-day, and Mrs. Van Vranken, herself, - to live under your roof till after the election. VAN VRANKEN. That's true! Of course! All right! God, it'll be a hell of a life! How- ever, there'll be an end of it to look forward to! Good-by. VORHEES and GEORGE. Good-by. [Enter TERESA and MRS. RAND. MRS. RAND is very altered. Her hair is dressed fashion- ably, etc., and, instead of the sweet, motherly woman she was, in Act I, she is now a rather overdressed, nervous-looking woman, ultra- smart, but no longer comfortable-looking and happy. 540 THE CITY TERESA. [As she enters.] George! MRS. RAND. George! [They both stop short, as they see VAN VRANKEN. He bows to TERESA; she only glares at him. VAN VRANKEN. [To MRS. RAND.] Good morn- ing. MRS. RAND. [Looking at him, - outraged and angry.] You wicked man! [VAN VRANKEN is somewhat taken aback; from her, he turns and looks at the two men; he raises his eyebrows, smiles, shrugs his shoul- ders, and slouches out indifferently. VORHEES. I must go, too. TERESA. Good morning, Bert. VORHEES. Good morning, Tess. How do you do, Mrs. Rand. MRS. RAND. I don't know where I am, Bert. I never felt the need of Mr. Rand more than to-day! 54I1 THE CI T Y GEORGE. Bert, will you have to tell the Com- mittee about this Won't it queer my nomi- nation VORHEES. Not if Tess will do what we expect. I'll leave you to explain to her. [Moving to go. GEORGE. No, - stay, Bert! MRS. RAND. George! Tess couldn't possibly tell you everything she wants to, before Bert. TERESA. Oh, don't worry, mother. I guess Don hasn't left much for me to tell! Besides, Bert's a lawyer. I'd like his advice. [To GEORGE.] Don gave you his version, didn't he GEORGE. Listen! My whole future is at stake, and it's in your hands ! TERESA. Nonsense! My hands are full of my own troubles. 542 THE CITY MRS. RAND. [To nobody in particular, and nobody pays any attention to her.] What a tragedy ! VORHEES. George is right. His nomination for governor was decided on, this morning, provided he had an open chance. If you make a scandal now, he'll lose the nomination, sure, - and if not, what's worse, the election! TERESA. You are trying to influence me against what I want to do, through George. I will never live with Don again! GEORGE. Won't you Only till after the election TERESA. No! I intend to begin proceedings for a divorce to-day. GEORGE. But Don offers you a legal separa- tion, and to share the children. TERESA. That's done purposely to keep me 543 544 THE CITY tied, so I couldn't marry again! I want the chil- dren all the time, and I want my freedom! GEORGE. But you know what he threatens to do TERESA. He won't dare I VORHEES. That's not his reputation in New York. MRS. RAND. [At random.] If she only wouldn't decide at once - all of a sudden. That's where women always slip up! TERESA. Did he pretend he wanted me to come back GEORGE. [Smiling in spite of himself.] No, but we persuaded him to be willing. VORHEES. For George's sake, till after the election, on one condition - TERESA. [Quickly.] What condition VORHEES. That you agree to the sort of sepa- ration he planned. THE CITY GEORGE. And promise to put an end, once for all, to the Cairns gossip. TERESA. Just what I told you! The whole thing with him is only a mean spirit of revenge ! He would sacrifice the children and me and every- thing else, to keep me from being happy with Jim. GEORGE. [Surprised at the apparent confession.] Do you mean you do love Cairns TERESA. Yes. MRS. RAND. [Breaking in.] No, she doesn't mean that! She doesn't love him now, but she will, if she gets her divorce. GEORGE. [To TERESA.] What you really want to divorce Don for, then, is not because of Mrs. Judly, but so you can marry Cairns TERESA. Exactly. VORHEES. [Looking at his watch.] I must go. [To GEORGE.] The Committee will be waiting now for me. 545 546 THE CI T Y MRS. RAND. [Mortified.] You've shocked Bert, Tess. VORHEES. [Smiling.] Oh, no, I've a report to make before George's nomination can be official, and I don't see, now, just how I'm going to make that report exactly as I wish. GEORGE. You mean on account of Tess ! TERESA. I'll make any sacrifice I can for George, except my own personal happiness. That, I haven't the right to sacrifice, because that belongs half to some one else. GEORGE. You go on and call me up by telephone when you get there. I'll have had a longer talk with Tess, and I may have something different to say to you. VORHEES. All right. [Going to TERESA. TERESA. I shall want you for my lawyer, Bert. THE CITY 547 VORHEES. Thanks. That isn't exactly in my line, but I hope you won't need a lawyer. Do what you can for George, won't you TERESA. Of course. [MRS. RAND goes out Unth VORHEES. MRS. RAND. [As they go out.] Bert, you mustn't get a wrong impression from what Tess said, will you She's her father's own daughter, and you know a Rand couldn't do a really wrong thing; it's not in the blood. GEORGE. Now, look here, Tess! On one side is a great career and me, and a dignified life for you, with independence and the happiness and the love and the respect of your children; on the other is probable failure for me, and worse than failure for you. Don'll do what he says, and if he wins his suit, you'll lose both children and every- thing else you ought to care about - 548 THE CITY TERESA. Except Jim! GEORGE. Would he make up for any thing TERESA. Everything! GEORGE. Even the children TERESA. [Almost breaking down.] How can you say that You know I wouldn't have to give up my children! GEORGE. Ten chances to one you'd have to. TERESA. I don't believe any judge would give Don the children in preference to me. GEORGE. Believe me, it'll be taking awful chances. TERESA. All life is that. [She turns aside, crying quietly. GEORGE. [Going over to her.] Tess! But you don't realize what this nomination means to me-more than anything in the world! I want it with every nerve and sinew in my body, THE CITY with every thought in my brain, with every ambi- tion I've got! Just let me get this one big thing in my hands, and nothing shall stop me I I'll climb on up the ladder of achievement and fame, and I'll take you all up with me! Remember our boy and girl days, Tess, in Middleburg. We were never selfish, you and I, with each other. It used to be a fight between us as to which should give up! Don't go back on me this time. You've got it in your power to give me a great boost, or push the whole scaffolding of my career from under my feet. For the love of God, stand by me to-day! TERESA. It's your future against my future! Why should you expect me to sacrifice mine for yours We aren't children now, and this isn't Middleburg! I love you very much, but not in that old-fashioned way. 549 THE CI TY GEORGE. But has any one in this world the right to absolutely ignore everybody else, and think only of one's self TERESA. It sounds to me exactly like what you're doing ! GEORGE. I suppose I do sound like a selfish brute; but I can't help feeling that what I ask of you, if six for me, is half a dozen for you, too, in the end. TERESA. If Don'll give me a full divorce, I'll do anything for you -live with the beast two years, if necessary, and not see Jim all that time. But don't ask me to give up Jim - [with emotion again] because I love him, and I won't, I couldn't; if I said I would, I'd lie! GEORGE. But Don won't give you what you want, and if you insist, he'll do what he says - divorce you, with a filthy scandal! 550 THE CITY 551 TERESA. The hour after the divorce was granted, Jim Cairns and I would be mar- ried. GEORGE. Listen! Would you do this De- ceive me now TERESA. HOW GEORGE. Well-agree to what Don asks- TERESA. Never! GEORGE. Wait! After the election, you might change your mind. Whatever course you took then, wouldn't interfere with me. TERESA. Does that seem to you quite square Isn't it a good deal like breaking your word GEORGE. Has Don done much else beside break his since he answered "I will" with you to the Bishop in the chancel TERESA. His word was cracked before I knew him! But I wasn't thinking of Don and me. THE CITY Aren't you playing a trick on the party that is putting its trust in you GEORGE. I don't see it! If your divorce comes out after my election, it needn't affect the party. My acts will be speaking for them- selves, then. I intend to be square in office, and to succeed or fail by that standard. I don't mind a failure, doing the right thing; what I can't stand is failure doing nothing with having had my chance! TERESA. I see; a sort of the-end-justifying- the-means principle. GEORGE. Not exactly, because I don't see anything wrong. It's just election tactics! The others'd do it; we must fight them with their weapons. TERESA. [Rather cunningly] Will you tell Bert Vorhees 552 THE CITY GEORGE. [After a second's pause.] No. TERESA. That's just what I mean I It's something father wouldn't do. GEORGE. He wouldn't! Why, father's whole business success was due to his not letting his left hand know what his right hand was after, but to square things in the end by a good divi- sion - one third to the left hand on the basis that the right hand had done all the work! And you know what father's name stood for - the very criterion of business honor! TERESA. Well, George, suppose I do it. I'm in no position to criticise, any way. I'll go back till you're elected, and pretend I'm going to carry out Don's plan. GEORGE. Thank you, Tess. [But the enthusiasm is gone. TERESA. Only, somehow it doesn't coincide 553 554 THIE CITY with my idea of what I thought you were being and striving for. Maybe you're on your way up the ladder, but you, at the same time, are coming down from the pedestal I'd put you on, to join me at the bottom of mine. [There is a moment's pause, both looking straight ahead, not liking to look into each other's eyes. Enter HANNOCK. HANNOCK. Excuse me, Mr. Rand. Mr. Vor- hees is on the 'phone. TERESA. [Quickly, to GEORGE.] I'll tell him. Then you won't have to lie, if he asks any difficult questions. GEORGE. I wouldn't lie; I'd just beg any- thing I don't want to answer - and tell Eleanor to be sure and let me see her before she goes. TERESA. [Very serious.] I wonder if she'd approve of this little plot of ours I wish it didn't seem contemptible to me! THE CITY GEORGE. [Hurt and showing a hint of shame for the first time.] For God's sake, Tess, don't sug- gest such a thing! Eleanor is the one thing in the world I wouldn't give up to get this election. [TERESA looks at him meaningly as she goes out. GEORGE. What did you mean by looking for personal graft out of this election just now, with Mr. Vorhees. HANNOCK. I was showing my hand, that's all. I was calling the pot! It's time! GEORGE. You don't know the men you're dealing with! HANNOCK. [Looking GEORGE squarely and meaningly in the face.] I know one of them better than he knows himself! GEORGE. Listen, Hannock! That day my father died, I promised myself and his memory I'd look after you, and look after you well - not like a dependent on father's charity - 555 556 THE CITY HANNOCK. [Interrupts.] Damned unwilling charity - he was afraid - GEORGE. We won't go into the story of your mother - [HANNOCK wnnces.] I've tried to treat you as I would a - brother who was unlucky - somebody I was glad to give a hand to - HANNOCK. [Interrupting.] Well, haven't I made good What complaints have you - GEORGE. [Going on.] You've been of the greatest service to me in every way. There's no question about that! But it's time for us now to open a new pack, and each go his own way- HANNOCK. [Thunderstruck.] What's that you say GEORGE. I'm going to offer you a fixed yearly income, - a sum we'll agree on, - and you're to get a job elsewhere, that's all - THE CITY 557 HANNOCK. [Dry and ugly.] Is it! GEORGE. What do you say HANNOCK. Oh, I've got a hell of a lot to say! GEORGE. Cut it down to yes or no, and we'll discuss the amount of the income! HANNOCK. No I ! I You haven't got to give half of what I expect to get out of the present situation! GEORGE. [Angry, but controlled.] If you don't look out, you'll get nothing. HANNOCK. [Sneers.] Pah! Just wait till I begin to open your eyes for you! For instance, how about the New Brunswick deal GEORGE. What about it [On the defensive. HANNOCK. As crooked as anything that's ever been in "high finance"! [With a sneer. GEORGE. What do you mean You knew THE CITY that deal from the very beginning - you knew every step I took in it HANNOCK. Yes, I did! I notice you kept the transaction pretty quiet from everybody else. GEORGE. It was nobody else's business. My father taught me that- HANNOCK. [Not listening out.] Yesl-and he taught you a lot of other things, too! But you go farther than he would have dared. GEORGE. That's enough! HANNOCK. What's the difference between your deal, and the Troy business that sent Pealy to State's Prison GEORGE. Every difference! HANNOCK. [Triumphantly.] Is there Think a minute! [A second's pause.] You gambled with your partner's money: Pealy gambled with his bank's. THE CITY 559 GEORGE. It wasn't my partner's money; it was the firm's. HANNOCK. But you were the only one who knew what was being done with it. GEORGE. My partner got his fair share, didn't he HANNOCK. Yes, but you got the unfair I You got paid pretty high for your "influence." Nobody else had any chance to sell theirs! If that isn't taking money under false pretences, if it isn't using funds you haven't the right to use, - there was a miscarriage of justice in the Pealy case, that's all. GEORGE. But-! HANNOCK. Go over the two deals with Vor- hees, if you don't believe me ! Show him the differences between the Brunswick Transaction and the Pealy case, - if he can see any! [Enter ELEANOR, breezily, enthusiastically. THE CITY ELEANOR. Good morning! [She sees HAN- NOCK; her manner changes to a cold one.] Good morning, Mr. Hannock. HANNOCK. Good morning, Miss Vorhees. Excuse me! [He passes Miss VORHEES, and goes out; as he goes, with his back to them, he is seen taking out from his pocket his hypodermic needle, and a small bottle,-and, by then, he is out. ELEANOR and GEORGE silently follow him with their eyes. ELEANOR. [Turning.] What is it about him GEORGE. [Kisses her.] You don't like him either ELEANOR. I detest him! What Cicely can see in him I - GEORGE. [Quietly.] Cicely ELEANOR. Yes, I've come to-day as a go- between-between you and Cicely- 56o THE CITY 561 GEORGE. Ha! Cicely's clever enough to know how to get what she wants from me. She has only to use you - ELEANOR. She's in love with your secretary. GEORGE. [Not taking it in.] What ELEANOR. Cicely and Mr. Hannock are in love with each other - GEORGE. [A ghast.] Impossible - ELEANOR. I know; I felt the same as you do. I detest him; he's no match for Cicely -I feel instinctively the last man in the world for her. GEORGE. Even not that - ELEANOR. But Cicely insists. They wish to marry. GEORGE. Never! ELEANOR. She guessed you would be against it. She says we none of us like Hannock, and THE CITY nobody's fair to him; and so she begged me to persuade you. She asked me to remember how much I loved you, and what our marriage meant to us. You see, I couldn't refuse! But I'm afraid I'm not a very good go-between; my heart isn't in it ! GEORGE. [Hardly hearing ELEANOR.] It's be- yond believing! [He touches the bell with deci- sion.] I must talk to Cicely now, before she sees Hannock again. ELEANOR. Wouldn't it be better without me She might resent your refusing and giving your reasons before me. [Enter FOOT. GEORGE. Ask Miss Cicely to come here at once, please. FOOT. Yes, sir. [He goes out. 562 THE CITY 563 GEORGE. Perhaps it would be better. ELEANOR. George, it doesn't make any dif- ference to you that Hannock has no family or position Cicely thinks you're prejudiced against him because his mother was a milliner or dress- maker - or something - GEORGE. Of course that makes no difference to me - ELEANOR. And you wouldn't be influenced against a man by your personal feeling, where your sister's happiness was concerned, would you [He shakes his head.] If you don't know anything against Hannock, you'll let him have a chance to prove himself worthy of Cicely, won't you GEORGE. Eleanor, it can't be! Don't ask me any questions, but believe me, nothing could make such a thing possible, -personal preju- THE CITY dice and any other kind aside! I want you to help me pull Cicely through it. I may even ask you to take Cicely into your house for a wvhile. Would you do this for me Teresa and Don, you know, would be no comfort, and, on the other hand, would set her a bad example, and fan every little rebellious flame in her! ELEANOR. Of course, I'll do whatever I pos- sibly can, dear. This is the very sort of thing I want to share with you, if I can't take it entirely off your shoulders. [Enter CICELY. CICELY. [Half defiant, half timid and hopeful.] Well ELEANOR. [Going. To CICELY, speaking ten- derly.] I won't go home yet. I'll wait for you upstairs. CICELY. Humph! Thank you; I know what that means! [ELEANOR goes out. 564 THE CITY 565 GEORGE. My dear girl, it isn't possible that you care for Hannock CICELY. [Determined.] Yes, very muchl GEORGE. Well, even that may be, but still not in the way you think. CICELY. I love him I Oh, I knew you'd be against it! Nobody cares for him in this house! GEORGE. [Quickly.] And that's why you do! You're sorry for him, my dear girl! It's pity, not love I CICELY. [Increasing her resentment and deter- mination.] Nothing of the sort! He doesn't need my pity in any way. GEORGE. It's just as I would feel toward a girl who seemed to me to be ignored. CICELY. Abused! As good as insulted here, by everybody! THE CITY GEORGE. You think so, and your sympathy is aroused,-but that's not love. CICELY. You don't know what you're talking about! GEORGE. Yes, I do,-better than you. You've never been in love in your life, and so you mistake something, that is probably like a sisterly affection for this man, for the other thing. CICELY. Ridiculous I GEORGE. You don't know the difference now - CICELY. Nonsense! GEORGE. But you'll realize it some day when the right man comes along- CICELY. [Satirically.] I hope not! It would be awkward, as I shall be married to Fred Hannock. GEORGE. No, you'll never be married to Hannock ! 566 THE CITY CICELY. You're not my father! GEORGE. But I represent him, and I tell you you must give up this idea - CICELY. [Interrupting angrily.] And I tell you I won't! Good-by! [Starting to go. GEORGE. Wait a minute. [Rings bell.] You can't marry this man. He isn't good enough for you! CICELY. Humph! GEORGE. Or for any self-respecting woman to marry, as far as that goes. CICELY. Your opinion as to whom I shall marry, or not, means absolutely nothing to me. GEORGE. Very well, I'll go even farther. I'll tell you that, even if both my reasons for disapproving of Hannock were done away with, - still, I say for you to marry him is impossible, 567 568 THE CITY and I, as your elder brother, representing your father, forbid it. [Enter FOOT. FOOT. Yes, sir GEORGE. Ask Mr. Hannock to come here. FOOT. Yes, sir. [Goes out. GEORGE. I shall tell him, before you, anything between him and you is absolutely impossible, - that I forbid it, and that he is dismissed from my service. CICELY. Then I will go with him, if he wants me to. Do you think I'm going to have him lose his position and everything through me, and not stick to him GEORGE. [With tension.] Sorry for him I That's all it is! Sorry for him! CICELY. It's not -and you can forbid now till doomsday. I'm my own mistress, and I shall do as I darn please ! I shall marry the man THE CITY I want to, in spite of you -and the whole family, if necessary, -but I wanted to give you the chance to stand by me - [Her voice falters, and she turns away; she cries.] I felt you wouldn't, but I wanted you to, and that's why - I've come here now - and let you - humili- ate me - in this - way. I wanted my own brother to sympathize with me, to help me. Everybody will follow your lead! GEORGE. [Goes to her, and puts his arms about her.] Cis! I can't tell you how sorry I am! Not since father died have I felt as I do now. I've nothing to gain or lose except your affec- tion, dear girl, and your happiness, so you can believe me when I say this marriage can't be - [She pushes his arm away and faces him. CICELY. [Literal and absolutely unconvinnced or frightened.] Why not 569 THE CITY GEORGE. I can't tell you. CICELY. Well, you know me well enough to realize such reasoning with me is a waste of breath. GEORGE. [Suffering.J I want to spare you - CICELY. What It doesn't seem to me you're sparing me much! GEORGE. But listen - Vorhees just now told m- Hannock isn't on the level, - he isn't honest I CICELY. I won't take Bert Vorhees' word for that! Fred's been your right-hand man here for four years and over. Have you ever found him doing a single dishonest thing I'm sure you haven't, or you wouldn't have kept him. I don't know why you did anyway! It was perfectly evident you didn't like him! [HANNOCK enters. 570 THE CITY GEORGE. [Quickly, before he is fully in the room, and going to the door.] Hannock, please excuse me. Will you wait one minute in the hall HANNOCK. [In the doorway. He looks ques- tioningly at CICELY. She nods her head.] Cer- tainly. [He goes out. GEORGE. [Intensely, with his hand on the knob, holding the door closed behind him.] Listen to me, for God's sake! You're my sister, I'm your brother. Have I ever showed that I did any- thing but love you CICELY. No, that's why I hoped - GEORGE. [Interrupting, almost beside himself.] But it can't be ! ! Won't you trust me, - won't you Let me tell Hannock, without going any deeper into it, that - you realize the marriage 571 THE CITY can't be; that you and he mustn't meet again! You can say what kind things you - CICELY. [Flashing.] Never!! You ought to know me better than to propose any such thing! [She moves toward the door. GEORGE. [With a movement to stop her.] For your own sake, for his sake, for mother's, for everybody's - trust me and - CICELY. [Looking him directly in the face after a second's silence, speaks with the note of finality.] Listen! I married Fred Hannock this morning! [GEORGE looks at her, his eyes dilating. There is a pause. GEORGE. [In horror.] What!! CICELY. I married Fred Hannock half an hour ago. We walked home from the church, separately. He went to his work, and I sent for Eleanor. 572 THE CITY i GEORGE. [In a voice of terrible but suppressed rage, goes to the door, throws it open with violence, and calls loudly:] Come in! [HANNOCK enters quietly, expecting a fight or a scene; he is on the defensive and not in any way frightened. GEORGE. [Controlling himself by a big effort.] Is this true, what my sister says, that behind my back you've been making love to her - CICELY. [Interrupting him.] I never said that GEORGE. That you've repaid all that I've done for you, and all my father did, by taking advantage of our kindness and your position here to run off with - CICELY. [Interrupting.] I was as anxious to run off as he - GEORGE. But why wasn't I told Why do it secretly [To HANNOCK.] Why didn't you go 573 THE CITY about it in the square, open way, unless you knew you were doing wrong HANNOCK. I knew you'd fight it for all you were worth, and I wasn't going to run any risk of losing her! CICELY. But you wouldn't have ! My brother would have wasted his words then, as much as he is now - HANNOCK. I was afraid -any fool in my place could see how I've really stood in this family. The only friend I had in the house, or who ever came to it, was she I [With a wave of his hand toward CICELY. GEORGE. And that's whyI Can't you see it Don't you know the difference between pity and love CICELY. I love him and he knows it; - don't you. Fred 574 THE CITY 575 HANNOCK. Yes, I do know it! As well as I know your brother only kept me here because - [turning to GEORGE] you were afraid of me! GEORGE. Afraid of you HANNOCK. Yes! Do you suppose I didn't guess your father must have told you I was on to him in the bank! GEORGE. Leave the dead alone! You've got your hands full with the lizing I HANNOCK. Well, I know my business well enough to realize that once Cicely and I were married, you'd have to make the best of it! GEORGE. Never! I tell you this marriage is no marriage! [CICELY and HANNOCK exclaim in derision. CICELY. What's the use of talking any more about it We aren't getting anywhere! It's done - and George has got to make the best of it ! 576 THE CITY GEORGE. I tell you it can't be! Will you take my word, Hannock HANNOCiK. No! [Laughs loudly. GEORGE. Then, I must go ahead without you! You're dismissed. Do you hear You're dis- charged from my employ! HANNOCK. [Getting very angry, but controlled.] You take care! GEORGE. [Continues determinedly.] You'll leave this house to-day. I'll give you an hour to pack up and get out, and you'll never lay your eyes on this girl again. CICELY. If he goes now, I'll go with him. I'm his wife! GEORGE. You won't go with him! HANNOCK. Who'll prevent her GEORGE. I w'll! THE CITY 577 HANNOCK. [In a blaze.] Try it!! CICELY. I've just promised to love, honor and obey him - and if he says to come, I'll go! GEORGE. [Slowly but strongly.] He won't say it. HANNOCK. I do say it! Come on, Cicely! But if you want to come back, you can, because, before I'm through with your brother, I'll get him down on to his knees, begging me to come back, and I won't come without you! GEORGE. [Going to the door and holding it open.] Cicely, will you wait in here with Eleanor for a few minutes HANNOCK. Oh, we can speak out before her! I want my wife to know the truth about every- thing! I don't intend to be the goat in this family any longer! GEORGE. Well, you can tell Cicely, afterward, 578 THE CITY what I'm going to tell you, if you like. God keep me from ever having to tell her! [After a look straight at HANNOCK, he looks at CICELY very seriously. She responds to his look, impressed by it, and turns her eyes to HANNOCK. Neither quite understands, but each feels the depth of seriousness in GEORGE'S attitude. HANNOCK. [Doggedly to CICELY.] Go on. CICELY. [To HANNOCK.] I'll wait there for you. Don't do anything without me. I'm so sorry my brother takes this attitude! Don't think it can influence me, any more than the disgraceful way you've always been treated here has; nothing they say can change me toward you, Fred! [She leaves them. GEORGE. I didn't want to have to tell you this. I'd rather almost die than have to tell THE CITY Cicely! I must break faith with father, but of course he'd be the first to ask me to. I must dig out a skeleton that is rotting in its closet - that's the trouble! I must do this, and a lot more, if you make me, and give you a couple of blows which will come pretty near to knock- ing you out, if you've anything at all of a man in you. And every bit of it can be spared every- body, if you'll go away and let Cicely - divorce you. HANNOCK. Well, I won't ! GEORGE. Because you won't give up Cicely HANNOCK. Exactly. I love her better than anything, - money, comfort, happiness, every- thing you can think of, - so go on, fire your last gun, and let's get through with it! My wife - GEORGE. [With excitement.] She isn't your wife! -[HANNOCK looks at him and sneers. 579 580 THE CITY GEORGE'S rage at HANNOCK is only governed by the tragedy of the whole thing.] Your marriage wasn't any marriage I HANNOCK. [A little frightened, and very angry now.] What do you mean - GEORGE. [Looks towards the door where CICELY has gone, and, with difficulty, manages to control his voice, as he lowers it.] Cicely is your sister I HANNOCK. [With a cry.] Cicely is what GEORGE. Your sister! HANNOCK. [Sees "red," and goes nearly mad.] You're a God damn liar! GEORGE. It's the truth - HANNOCK. [Out of his mind, with an insane laugh.] You're a liar! [CICELY, alarmed, opens the door to come in. HANNOCK shouts at her angrily, in an ugly voice:] You go back !-and shut the door! Do you hear! Get out of this room I THE CITY s8r GEORGE. [Strong, but more kind.] Wait in the room till I call you. HANNOCK. [Brokenly -ugly.] I don't want her hanging round here now! This is none of her business, none o' hers! GEORGE. [Speaks toward the doorway.] Elea- nor, I don't want Cicely to hear what we're saying. ELEANOR. [Answering.] Very good. [She is seen shutting the door. HANNOCK. [Making guttural sounds, and un- able to pronounce the words clearly.] Hugh- hugh - hah! - You'd play any game to get rid of me, wouldn't you But you can't fool me like that!! [He sits in a chair, mumbling to himself inco- herently every other minute, working his hands, his mouth and his chin wet with saliva. GEORGE. That day I saw you first, just before he died, my father told me. 582 TIlE CITY HANNOCK. I don't believe it! GEORGE. He made me promise two things: - that I wouldn't tell you - never! - and that I would look out for you. HANNOCK. I don't believe it! GEORGE. That's why your mother got her allowance, - and to buy her silence - HANNOCK. I don't believe it I [Laughing and weeping. GEORGE. Now, you see why you must leave here to-day -leave New York! Why there was no marriage this morning and never can be! Why- HANNOCK. [His mind deranged, rises unevenly; h/o is loud, partly incoherent, and his face is twitch- ing and distorted, his hands clutching and clench- ing, his whole body wracked and trembling, but still strong, with a nervous madman's strength.] It's all a lie - to separate Cicely from me! THE CITY 583 GEORGE. [Goes to him and sees the change.] Hannock! HANNOCK. I'll never believe it! GEORGE. [Taking him by the shoulder.] Have you gone out of your mind! HANNOCK. I'll never give her up! GEORGE. What I I I tcll you, she's your sister! HANNOCK. And I say I don't believe it! I love her, she loves me. I won't give her up !! GEORGE. Yes, you will I! HANNOCK. I won't! Do you think I'd give her up to some other fellow to hold in his arms! For some other man to love and take care of!.' You're crazy!! She said if I said come, she'd go with me, and I'll say it!! [He starts toward the door. GEORGE takes hold of him to stop him from calling her. GEORGE. Wait! If you don't give her up S84 THE CITY now, after what I've told you, and leave here before she comes out of that room, I'll have to do the only thing left, - tell her I HANNOCK. [Furious.] No, you won't! You sha'n't tell her! It isn't true! And if it was, by God, she sha'n't know it! It would separate us! GEORGE. [Horrified at what this means, calls sternly and with determination :] Cicely! HANNOCK. [Wildly.] Don't you dare to tell her that lie ! ELEANOR. [Opening the door.] You want Cicely to come in GEORGE. Yes. [ELEANOR turns away from the door, leaving it open behind her. CICELY appears, and enters, - leaving the door open. HANNOCK. There isn't any lie too big for him THE CITY to make up to separate us! I'm going! Will you come with me CICELY. Of course! GEORGE. Cicely! Are you strong Are you brave You must hear something unbelievably terrible ! HANNOCK. [Holding out his hand beggingly.] Come along, don't listen to him! [She makes a movement toward HANNOCK. GEORGE. You can't! [Taking hold of her. CICELY. I wnill! Leave go of me! [Struggling desperately. GEORGE. [Puts his arms about her, and holds her in his arms -her back to him.] My poor child, he's your - [HANNOCK, Wi/kOU1 warning, pulls out a pistol from his hip pocket, and shoots her dead in GEORGE'S arms, 585 THE CITY ELEANOR. [Calls, in fright.] George!! GEORGE. Cicely! [He holds her in his arms, and carries her over to sofa. Calls brokenly: ] Cicely! [ELEANOR enters quickly, and goes to them. ELEANOR. [In horror as she sees.] Oh I GEORGE. Take her. [ELEANOR takes CICELY tenderly from him. HANNOCK. Now, you nor nobody else can separate us ! [Lifts the pistol to his heart to shoot, feeling for the place he showed in Act I. GEORGE springs forward and gets hold of him and the pistol before he can shoot. GEORGE. No! That's too good for you! That's too easy! By God, you've got to pay. [Enter FOOT in excitement. FOOT. Excuse me, sir, I heard - 586 THIE CITY 587 GEORGE. All right. Telephone for the police. Is she breathing, Eleanor [ELEANOR shakes her head.] Oh, God! [Bowning his head, emotion surges up in him. HANNOCK, in this moment of weakness, almost frees himself and almost gets hold of the pistol. ELEANOR. [Who is watching, cries out in alarm.] George! George, be careful! [GEORGE pulls himself together too quickly for him, and prevents HANNOCK. FOOT starts to go. To FOOT:] Help me; it won't take you a moment! GEORGE. No! Foot, I know I can trust you. [Giving him the pistol.] Keep this, yourself, and don't let him get out of the room. FOOT. Yes, sir. [Takes the pistol, and stands before HANNOCK. GEORGE goes to CICELY, and takes her in his arms. 588 THlE CITY GEORGE. Poor little woman! little sister! Why did this have to be! I wonder if this is what they call the sins of the fathers [He carries her out of the room, Left, followed by ELEANOR. HANNOCK, the moment they are gone, makes a movement. FOOT at once covers him with the pistol. HANNOCK. Give me that pistol! FOOT. No, sir. HANNOCK. Name your own price I FOOT. Miss Cicely's life back, sir! HANNOCK. You're against me too, are you! Every one's against me! [GEORGE comes back. GEORGE. [Taking the pistol from FOOT.] Thank you. Now, telephone, and ask them to be quick, please. FOOT. Shall I come back, sir THE CITY GEORGE. No, I think this job had better be mine. [Looking hard at HANNOCK. HANNOCK. [Quickly.] I won't try to get away, - I give you my word of honor. GEORGE. Your word of honor! [To FOOT.] When you've telephoned, go to Miss Vorhees. FOOT. Yes, sir. GEORGE. Ask her to keep my mother and Mrs. Van Vranken from coming here. FOOT. Yes, sir. [Goes out. HANNOCK. [Makes a move for GEORGE.] Give me that gun! [There is a short struggle. GEORGE breaks from HANNOCK, and, crossing to the table, lays the pistol on it. HANNOCK makes a tricky attempt to get to it quickly, but is caught by GEORGE, who holds him. The following scene takes place 589 590 THE CITY wit/i GEORGE keeping hold of HANNOCK, who some- times struggles and sometimes tries to break, sud- denly or craftily, away from George's grip, and at other times remains quiescent.] You're a damn fool! Don't you see it's the easiest way all around for us I've got to die anyway. GEORGE. But not that way. That's too easy for you! HANNOCK. Well, it's easier for you, too, with me out of the way! There's no arrest, no trial, no scandal! Nobody'll know I was her brother; nobody'll know about your father! Think what it'll save your mother! Think what it'll save you! Think what it'll save everybody! GEORGE. Including you, - and you don't de- serve to be saved anything I HANNOCK. Still, even I am your own blood! For God's sake, go on, let me! All you have THE CITY to do is to turn your back a minute -it won't take two I Please! Think of her - what it'il save her memory! GEORGE. No! HANNOCK. Then for your mother's sake! How can she go through a trial and all that means' GEORGE. Your work in the next room is worse than any trial for her to bear. HANNOCK, Think of yourself, of the election What will my trial do to your election GEORGE. I'm not thinking of my election now, - I'm thinking of that little, still figure lying in the next room! HANNOCK. [Emotionally, almost crying.] There'd have been two, if you hadn't stopped me! For the love of God, give me the gun - GEORGE. No! You've got to sit in the chair I HANNOCK. [With an ugly change.] Well, you'll SWI THE CITY get your punishment, too, -don't you forget that!! I know how eaten up with ambition you are! And every single wish nearest to your heart will die just as dead as I do. if you let me go to trial! GEORGE. What do you think you're doing HANNOCK. If I have to pay my price, I'll make you pay yours. And you'll be dead, publicly and politically, before I go into the condemned cell. GEORGE. You're crazy, and that's the only thing that may save you, if Matteawan is salva- tion! HANNOCK. I knew your father was dishonest, and I told him that day; I guess it killed him. And I've watched you, and tempted you, and helped you go on with his methods! Every bit of this will come out in my trial. I'll get a clever enough lawyer to manage that I And you'll lose, 592 THE CITY 593 not only your ambition, but your position in the world, and one more thing besides, -the woman you're in love with I For that kind of a high- browed moral crank wouldn't stand for one half you stand for in business, and when she finds out how deceived she's been in you, if I know human nature, she won't have that much love left for you - [Snapping his fingers.] And she'll find out, and they'll all know! - your party and the other party! That election'll be a hell of a walk- over for the other side! [ELEANOR enters. GEORGE. What is it, Eleanor I don't want you here. HANNOCK. [Half aside, with a half jeer, and a half smile.] Hah! ELEANOR. Excuse me. Bert wants you on the telephone. Shall I answer THE CITY GEORGE. Yes, please. [HANNOCK begins to steal behind, toward the pistol.] Does mother know ELEANOR. Yes, and she's very plucky. But I'm surprised how full she is of the desire for revenge! [GEORGE turns and sees HANNOCK, and quickly but quietly intercepts him, and stands with his hand on the pistol.] She wants Hannock punished! She's watching for the police! GEORGE. They ought to be here soon, now. ELEANOR. Teresa is with me. She feels it terribly. [Goes out. HANNOCK. Do you realize how completely you'll be done for, if you don't let me do it The New Brunswick business isn't a patch on some of your other deals I know about! GEORGE. I've never done a thing in business that couldn't stand the strictest overhauling. 594 THE CITY 595 HANNOCK. If you believe that, you're a bigger fool than I thought! I'd rather be a crook than a fool, any day! Quick, before she comes from the telephone! Turn your back; walk to the door there! It's easily explained; - you're not to blame! GEORGE. No ! HANNOCK. [Hysterically.] If you don't, I'll explain now, before her, where and how your standard in business is rotten, and your dealings crooked, - and you can begin to take your medicine! GEORGE. I dare you! [ELEANOR comes back. ELEANOR. Bert wants me to tell you it's settled, - your nomination - and he adds, "good luck I" GEORGE. Did you tell him about- 596 THE CITY ELEANOR. No - I - I told him to come here as soon as he could. GEORGE. All right. [ELEANOR starts to go. HANNOCK. [Excitedly.] Wait a minute, Miss Vorhees! GEORGE. No, Eleanor, go back, please! HANNOCK. [Quickly.] This man, who thinks he has it on me, is afraid to have you hear the truth about himself. That's why he don't want you to stay. GEORGE. [To ELEANOR.] Stay! HANNOCK. You think George Rand stands for honesty, and the square deal in the business world! Well, he does, but it's a lie I And if he wasn't paying up to the hilt - East, West, North and South - to protect himself, everybody in this country would know what we, on the inside, do! THE CITY ELEANOR. George, unless you'd really rather I stayed, I don't want to hear what he has to say about you. HANNOCK. [Quickly.] I don't blame you for not wanting to hear about the suicide of Henry Bodes! [To GEORGE.] Do you know who killed Bodes You did I GEORGE. The man's out of his mind still, Eleanor. HANNOCK. Am I Bodes was on to your Copper Pit scheme, and saw it succeed-so he tried one like it, and it failed! GEORGE. Was that my fault HANNOCK. Yes! It was your example set him on, and do you think your scheme was legitimate GEORGE. So help me God, I do I HANNOCK. Then why, when it failed, did Bodes kill himself He wasn't broke! It wasn't 597 THE CITY money that drove him to it! It was shame, be- cause his scheme was crooked, just as yours was. Success covered it, but failure showed it up. ELEANOR. Don't ask me to listen to this any longer! [She goes out. GEORGE watches her go, but HANNOCK only gives a quick glance after her. HANNOCK. Bodes was one of your sweet, weak family men, who can't stand on disgrace! GEORGE. Disgrace!! HANNOCK. Ask Vorhees,-and about the New Brunswick case! And get him to tell you the truth ! GEORGE. [Half to himself. Good God! If there is something in all this HANNOCK. What are you paying Elmer Caston ten thousand a year for GEORGE. For his legal services! 598 THE CITY 599 HANNOCK. Rot! The firm's never used him - GEORGE. But keeping him on our pay list keeps him from working against us. HANNOCK. Hush money! GEORGE. No! HANNOCK. Why were all these Amsterdam tunnel bonds made over to Parker Jennings GEORGE. He helped us get the bill passed! HANNOCK. Ask Vorhees if he wouldn't put that down in the expense-book under the name of Blackmail. GEORGE. No! HANNOCK. Ask Vorhees! GEORGE. You can't alter the diplomacy of the business world - calling it by ugly names. HANNOCK. No, I can't, but Roosevelt did I GEORGE. If you think I'm afraid of what you - 6oo THE CI TY HANNOCK. Oh, come! Stop bluffing! If you don't realize I know what I'm talking about, I'll go on. I know at least five separate deals of yours so damned crooked, if any one of them were made public you'd be out of business over night, and out of the country, if you know your job. [He waits. No answer. GEORGE is weigh- ing the truth or the lie of what he is saying. He evidently sees some truth in it.] And I've got proof of what I say! Every proof ! I've got copies of letters and telegrams, when I couldn't get the originals. I've got shorthand reports of private telephone conversations. I've got data enough for fifty trials, if it should come to that. I've been preparing for a deal of my own with you ever since I came to you! Only - God! [He is moved as he thinks of CICELY.] I didn't think it would be trying to get rid of my life! THE CITY I'd planned to make you finance a big game for me! GEORGE. If what you say is true - and I don't know but what some of it may be, -then it's good-by to everything for me, and it'll be about all I'm worth having come to me. HANNOCK. That's it! Even Middleburg'll be too small for you, if I show you up! But you know what'll shut my lips tight! Gimme the gun - GEORGE. [Quickly.] No. HANNOCK. [Pleadingly.] You've everything to get, and nothing to lose by it! GEORGE. Yes, I have something to lose! - what rag of honor I've got left! HANNOCK. No! Think a minute -if I'm out of the way There's no real scandal - your father's old story - our father's old story - 6oii 602 THE CITY isn't even known by your mother. I shot Cicely, and killed myself, - it's an ordinary story. I was drunk or crazy-she wouldn't have me. Any story you want to make up, and there'll not be a murmur against Cicely, then! But can you see the papers if the real story conics out !! All over this country, and all the countries, it'll be tele- graphed and pictured and revelled in. It'll even get into the cinematograph shows in Europe - with some low down girl masquerading as Cicely. GEORGE. Stop! Stop I HANNOCK. And the story will come out, if I go to trial. I'll stop at nothing to take it out of you. Whether you believe or not what I say about your business methods, you take my word for it, my arrest will put a quietus on your elec- tion, and finish you, not only in a political career, but any old career at all! THE CITY 603 GEORGE. What a finish! What a finish of all I hoped to do and be ! HANNOCK. And - you'll lose the woman who's just left this room. Whether all her brother's high-browed talk is bunkum or not, even I know hers is serious; and if she finds you've de- ceived her all the time, that your high ideals are fake- ! GEORGE. [Interrupts, crying, in an agony half to himself:] They're not! They're not ! God knows, nobody's been more deceived in me than I've been myself! HANNOCK. Well, you know she won't stand for it. A girl like - her heart couldn't stomach it! Go on, bring me to trial and lose everything you've banked on for a career! Lose your business standing, lose your best friends, lose the woman you want, and raise the rottenest THE CITY scandal for your family, for your mother, to bear, and your little sister's memory to go foul under! Do it all, and be damned to you!! [He falls on his knees with exhaustion. GEORGE. My God, how can I HANNOCK. [Whining, pleading.] All you have to do, to save every mother's son of us, is to let me do what the law'll do anyway! Leave that pistol where I can get it, and walk half a dozen steps away. That's all you need do! [He sees GEORGE hesitate.] It's all or nothing for you!! It's the finish or the beginning! Are you ready and willing to be down and out, and go through the hell my living'll mean for you [He sees GEORGE weaken more.] You'll be Governor! Sure, you'll marry Miss Vorhees! You'll find all the proofs I told you about in my safety deposit box at the Manhattan. And there'll be only white 604 THE CI T Y 605 flowers and pity on the new little grave! It'll be your chance to prove by the future that you were made of the right stuff at heart, after all ! [GEORGE puts down the pistol not far from HANNOCK'S reach, and starts to walk away with a set face - suffering. HANNOCK makes a slow, silent step towards the pistol, but, before he can get it, GEORGE turns and recovers it, with a terrfic revulsion of feeling. He seizes the pistol and throws it through the big glass window. GEORGE. No! I haven't the right! You must take your punishment as it comes, and I must take mine! [He suddenly breaks down; tears fill his throat and pourfrom his eyes. HANNOCK is crouching and drivelling on the floor.] This is my only chance to show I can be on the level! That 6o6 THE CITY I can be straight, when it's plain what is the right thing to do! God help me do it / [The door opens and a POLICEMAN enters with FOOT, as THE CURTAIN FALLS ACT III SCENE: Same room as Act II, only seen from another point of view. The mantel is now Right and the windows Back. Left is the wall not seen before. Later the same day. VORHEES and GEORGE are seated at the desk before a mass of business papers. There is a tall whiskey-and- soda glass, nearly empty, and a plate with the remnants of some sandwiches, beside GEORGE. The shades of the windows are drawn, but it is still daylight. GEORGE looks crushed, mentally and physically, but is calm and immovable. VORHEES looks stern and disappointed. There is a pause; neither men move. GEORGE. That's all [VORHEES nods his head. 607 6o8 THE CITY GEORGE drinks, and gathers up the papers.] What's to be done with these papers Are they Han- nock's or mine V6RHEES. They have only to do with your affairs. Hannock hadn't any right to them! In any case, you don't pretend to deny anything these papers prove. Destroy them! GEORGE. But- [Getting up all the papers, except some of his own, which he separates and leaves on the desk. VORHEES. I doubt if, when it comes to the point, Hannock will go into all this business! He will have had months to cool down, and his hands will be full enough. [He gives GEORGE a couple of papers he has had in his hand, and mo- tions to the fireplace.] Here! don't wash your dirty linen; burn it! [GEORGE goes to the fireplace with a mass of papers, and burns them. THE CITY 6o0 GEORGE. [As the papers burn.] Has Eleanor gone home VORHEES. Yes, but she promised your mother to come back later and stop over-night with her. GEORGE. I wonder if she'd be willing to see me VORHIEES. Yes, because I'm sure she didn't believe Hannock. GEORGE. Tess can stay with mother. There'll be no need of her pretending to go back to Don, now. VORITEES. Pretending I GEORGE. Yes. That's something else I did, - persuaded Tess to make Don believe she'd come back in accordance with his conditions. But it was agreed between us she was to break her word to him, after the election! [He burns his last batch of papers. VORHEES. It's a pity you can't burn that, too! I'd have staked my reputation on your being 6io THE CITY absolutely on the level! How I have been taken in by you! GEORGE. I know, it sounds ridiculous, and I don't expect you to understand it; but I've been taken in by myself, too! Shall I write my withdrawal from the nomination, or will you take a verbal message VORHEES. Write it. It will make less for me to say by way of explanation. [GEORGE goes to the desk and writes.] I'm sorry, I'm sorry, George. I know what it means to you! GEORGE. Somehow now, it doesn't seem so much, after all; I suppose that's Cicely-poor little girl - poor little girl, - and - Eleanor. [He adds the last, almost in a whisper. VORHEES. You're a young man, George! You've got a good chance yet to make good, and it's all up to you! THE CITY GEORGE. I know that - VORHEES. I suppose you won't want to go back to Middleburg GEORGE. No! No!! For everybody's sake! But, would it have been wrong-leave me out of it, - to have saved father's memory, to have saved mother - could I have let him do it VoRHEEs. You know you couldn't! GEORGE. Yes, and anyway, I didn't. Why can't I forget it ! VORHEES. Oh, it'll be many a day before you deserve to forget it ! GEORGE. But, will you ever have any confi- dence in me Can any one ever believe in me again [Buries his face in his hands, and groans. VORHEES. I can. Whether I do or not, is entirely up to you. THE CITY GEORGE. You're sure of that VORHEES. [Takes his hand and shakes it.] Sure. GEORGE. And Eleanor VORHEES. Well - there's no use in my lying about it. If I know her, you must give up all idea of marrying her. Eleanor's husband must be a man she can look up to. That's a necessity of her nature -she can't help it. But I do believe she'll help you with her friendship. If you don't go back to Middleburg, where will you go GEORGE. Here! I stay right here I VORHEES. [Surprised.] Here! It'll be hard. GEORGE. I suppose it will! VORHEES. How will you start GEORGE. First, make a clean breast to my partners! Give back all the money I've made 612 THE CITY 613 in ways which you've proved to me are illegal. Publish every form of graft I've benefited by, for the sake of future protection! Resign from all - VORHEES. It's gigantic! It's colossal! Can you do it GEORGE. [Simply.] I can try. I'm going to have a go at it, anyway! VORHEES. The Press! Among your profes- sional associates - here and all over the State - it'll be hell for you to go through! GEORGE. I know it! I know it! But to get back where I want to be - if I ever can! I've got to fight it out right here, and make good here, or not at all. I don't care what it costs me! TERESA. [Opening the door.] May I come in GEORGE. Yes, come in, Tess. Where's mother TERESA. She's locked herself in her room! 614 THE CITY She's turned against me in the most extraordinary manner! Says my influence over Cicely is at the bottom of everything! [She begins to cry.] She goes so far as to say, if I'd behaved like a decent woman, she doesn't believe this would have happened! I didn't care what other peo- ple believe of me, but this I didn't bargain for! I have been unfaithful to Don in my heart - and in my mind, perhaps, - but that's all - GEORGE. I always felt it, Tess! TERESA. Can't you persuade mother GEORGE. Bert could, because he represents the outside world. TERESA. But you know Bert. He wouldn't persuade her, unless he believed in me himself. VORHEES. That's true, and I'll go talk with her now, if Mrs. Rand will see me. [He goes toward door. THE CITY 6i5 TERESA. [Deeply moved, and grateful.] Thank you! VORKEES. That's all right. [He goes out. TERESA. George, I don't know - but every- thing, even Jimmy Cairns, seems so little now, in comparison with Cicely - dead, - the bottom fallen out of everything! GEORGE. Even worse than that, for me. I've given up the nomination. TERESA. I'm sorry! Did Bert feel you had to GEORGE. No more than I did. You won't have to act a lie for me after all, Tess. TERESA. I'm glad! I know, if Eleanor Vor- hees knew I was doing it - GEORGE. She's going to know it, - and that I'm a liar! She's going to know much worse things than that! Everybody's going to know 6I6 THE CITY them, I guess! Father was a crook in business, - that's the ugly, unvarnished fact, - and I've been a worse one! But I'd rather she'd learn these things from me, -what Hannock hasn't already told her - rather than she learned them outside. TERESA. But George! George!! Don't you realize you'll lose her GEORGE. Well, I've lost everything else, ex- cept - TERESA. Except what GEORGE. Except that! After all, I don't believe, way down at the bottom, I'm not fun- damentally straight! I mean to give myself, all by myself, a chance to prove it! I know there are lots of "good men " who are born crooks. I want to see if I'm not a crook who was born good! [VORHEEs reenters. THE CITY 6x7 VORHEES. It's all right. They've told Mrs. Rand she can go in and see Cicely now, and she wants you to go with her. TERESA. [Holds his hand in her two, for a moment.] Thank you! [She goes out. VORHEES. And give me that paper you wrote. The sooner we get that off our hands, the better. [GEORGE takes up the paper and, reading it over to himself, goes slowly to VORHEES, and gives it to him. VORHEES. Too bad, old man, too bad! But it can't be helped. GEORGE. I know! [VORHEES starts to go.] Bert, - Eleanor hasn't come yet VORHEES. No. Are you sure you want to see her, or shall I first - GEORGE. No, leave it to me! I'd rather. I don't want a loophole, anywhere, for her think- THE CITY ing me a coward. I want to make a clean breast of it all! That's what I'm after, -a clean breast, no matter what the doing it costs me! VORHEES. You're right. [About to go. Enter FOOT. FOOT. A gentleman for a newspaper, sir. GEORGE. Will you see him, Bert VORHEES. Yes. [To FOOT.] You refer all the reporters to me. You know my address FOOT. Yes, sir. VORHEES. [To FOOT.] Say no one here can be seen. [To GEORGE.] I'll see you early to- morrow. GEORGE. Thank you. I'd like your help in laying out a plan of action. Of course I shan't do anything till after - [He hesitates, and raises his head and eyes to upstairs, 6Ix8 THE CITY 6x9 VORHEES. I wouldn't. [Goes out. FOOT exits. GEORGE stands alone in the room, a picture of utter dejection, of ruin and sorrow, but with a bulldog look all the while, - the look of a man who is licked, beaten, but not dead yet. He stands immov- able almost - in complete silence. Slowly and softly, the door opens. VAN VRANKEN looks in. He speaks in a sullen, hushed, and somewhat awed voice. He is pale; all evidence of drinking and excitement are gone. VAN VRANKEN. George GEORGE. [In a monotonous voice.] Hello, Don -you know VAN VRANKEN. I just heard. It's true [GEORGE, 70th a set face and stern lips, nods his head firmly, still standing. VAN VRANKEN col- lapses in a chair.] God! Poor Cicely! THE CITY GEORGE. Tough, isn't it [With a great sigh. VAN VRANKEN. I was having an awful time, George, with Mrs. Judly. She was giving it to me good for being willing to patch it up, tempo- rarily, with Tess! She didn't care about youl I've come to the conclusion she don't care about anybody, anyway, but herself. Her brother telephoned it from his Club, and she - [his anger rises] had the rottenness to say she be- lieved there was something between Hannock and Cicely. That was more than I could stand for! God knows I'm as bad as they make them, but, with that little girl dead like that -to think such a thing, let alone say it -I don't know! - It took it out of me, somehow! It didn't seem to me it was the time to have a low quarrel between two people like us! It made 620 THE CITY 621 us seem so beastly small! Death's such an awful -such a big-I suppose I'll feel differently to-morrow-but to-day-now- George, I couldn't stand for it ! She kicked me out, and I give you my word of honor I'm glad she did! GEORGE. [Not deeply imptessed, but civil.] As you say, you'll feel differently to-morrow. VAN VRANKEN. Very likely! Still, I've got these few decent hours, anyway, to put on your sister's grave. [A pause. GEORGE sits. GEORGE. I've given up running for governor. VAN VRANKEN. [Surprised.] Because - GEORGE. No. You'll hear all the reasons soon enough. The point for the moment is, you and Tess needn't fake any further - living together. VAN VRANKEN. [Thoughtfully.] I see. [After a pause.] George - THE CITY GEORGE. What VAN VRANKEN. Could I see Cicely GEORGE. [Hesitating.] Tess is there. VAN VRANKEN. [After a moment.] Then, per- haps I'd better not go - GEORGE. I think I would, if I were you. [VAN VRANKcEN looks at GEORGE questioningly. TERESA enters. TERESA. [Quietly.] Don- [Her voice fills; she turns aside, and hastily wipes her eyes. VAN VRANKEN. [Moved.] I was going up- stairs. TERESA. Not now! Mother and I have just left. They've come to- [She stops, and again turns aside. VAN VRANKEN. Where are the children TERESA. Home! 622 THE CITY 623 VAN VRANKEN. "Home" [Very meaningly. TERESA. At the house. VAN VRANKEN. Oh, Tess! - I'm - I'm not fit to take care of them! You'd better take them both, Tess, but let me see them off and on - TERESA. I'm going back now with you, Don. VAN VRANKEN. You needn't. I take it all back, Tess. You can have it your own way entirely. Leave Mrs. Judly out of it,-that's all I'll ask. Outside that, I'll fix it easy for you. TERESA. Thank you, Don, [after a second's pause] but, if you don't mind, I'd rather go back with you for the present, anyway. It seems to me, between us, we've pretty well spoiled every- thing except - well, - perhaps, in thinking of the children's happiness we might find something for ourselves! What do you say THE CITY VAN VRANKEN. It's worth a try -so long as you're willing! [Enter MRS. RAND in a flurry. MRS. RAND. Has any one thought to send for a dressmaker [Nobody answers.] Did you think of it, Teresa TERESA. No, I'm afraid I didn't. MRS. RAND. [Her eyes filling.] I haven't the remotest idea what's the thing to wear! In Middleburg, I'd have known, - but here, I'm always wrong! If I'd had my way, I'd never have taken off my crepe veil for your father, and now I wish I hadn't! [She sees DON.] Oh! I didn't see you, Don. Have you come to beg Tess's pardon Has this terrible thing reformed you VAN VRANKEN. I don't know, mother, how much reform is possible, but I came to tell Tess I'm ashamed - THE CITY [He and TERESA exchange a look of almost sympathy, - at least, all antagonism has gone from them. MRS. RAND. I confess, if I were Tess I could never forgive you! Her father spoiled me for that sort of thing! GEORGE. Tess isn't thinking now only of herself. MRS. RAND. Oh, why did we ever come here! That was the first and great mistake I I haven't had a happy moment since I left their father's and my old home ! TERESA. Mother! Mother!! MRS. RAND. It's the truth, - I haven't! I've never been anything, in New York, but a fizzle! I've been snubbed right and left by the people I wanted to know! I'm lonesome for my church, and if I died I wouldn't have a hand- ful of people at my funeral! 623 THE CITY GEORGE. But you're going to live, mother, and you'll see we'll make you happy yet! MRS. RAND. Not here! You can't do it yourself! Bert says you have given up running for governor, and Tess says everything's off between you and Eleanor. I don't have to be told how disappointed and unhappy you are, and Tess's made a miserable mess of it! And now, Cicely, the baby of you all!-killed, like this! [She breaks down into hysterical sob- bing.] It's more than I can bear! I tell you, children, I can't bear it! And it's all thanks to coming here! ! This is what we get for not doing what your father wished. Why didn't we stay home I amounted to something there. I had as much sense as my neighbors. I could hold my own! Here, I've been made to under- stand I was such a nonentity - that I've grown 626 THE CITY 627 actually to be the fool they believe me! Oh, what the City has done for the whole of us! TERESA. Yes, you're right, mother. I was happy too, till I came here. It was the City that taught me to make the worst of things, in- stead of the best of them. GEORGE. [Gently.] No, Tess - let's be honest with ourselves to-day. After all, it's our own fault - VAN VRANKEN. I agree with Tess! She and I, in a small town, would have been happy al- ways! I'd not have been tempted like I am here - I couldn't have had the chances - GEORGE. [Rising and speaking with the ful- ness of conviction.] No I You're all wrong! Don't blame the City. It's not her fault! It's our own! What the City does is to bring out what's strongest in us. If at heart we're 628 THE CITY good, the good in us will win! If the bad is strongest, God help us! Don't blame the City! She gives the man his opportunity; it is up to him what he makes of it! A man can live in a small town all his life, and deceive the whole place and himself into thinking he's got all the virtues, when at heart he's a hypocrite! But the village gives him no chance to find it out, to prove it to his fellows - the small town is too easy ! But the City !! / A man goes to the gates of the City and knocks! - New York or Chicago, Boston or San Francisco, no matter what city so long as it's big, and busy, and selfish, and self- centred. And she comes to her gates and takes him in, and she stands him in the middle of her market place - where Wall Street and Herald Square and Fifth Avenue and the Bowery, and Harlem, and Forty-second Street all meet, and there she strips him naked of all his disguises THE CI T Y - and all his hypocrisies, - and she paints his ambition on her fences, and lights up her sky- scrapers with it! -what he wants to be and what he thinks he is I - and then she says to him, Make good if you can, or to Hell with you! And what is in him comes out to clothe his naked- ness, and to the City he can't lie ! I know, be- cause I tried I [A short pause. FOOT enters. FOOT. Miss Vorhees. GEORGE. Ask her to come in here. [TERESA rises quickly. TERESA. Don, I think - VAN VRANKEN. I've a taxi outside. MRS. RAND. All this time, and that clock going on every minute ! TERESA. [To MRS. RAND.] Mother, if you want to see us after dinner, telephone. [Kisses her. 629 630 THE CITY MRS. RAND. What about our clothes TERESA. I'll attend to everything in the morning. [TERESA and DON go out together. MRS. RAND. I think I'd rather be alone with you, George, to-night, if the things are off be- tween you and Eleanor. At a time like this, there is no excuse for her going back on you - GEORGE. Hush, mother! You don't under- stand. She has every excuse. I'll tell you about it afterward. MRS. RAND. No, tell her for me not to stop. I wanted her, because I thought she loved you - and was to be one of us - that's all! [Enter ELEANOR.] Thank you for coming back, Elea- nor, but good night. George will explain. [She goes out. ELEANOR. What is the matter with your THE CITY mother and Teresa And Bert seemed strange, too, when I met him outside. What have I done GEORGE. Nothing, Eleanor. ELEANOR. [Realizing what it may mean.] They think I believed what Hannock said That anything he would say against you could for one moment mean anything to me! GEORGE. You didn't believe Hannock ELEANOR. Not for one second! That's why I left the room. GEORGE. You'd better have stayed. ELEANOR. Why GEORGE. Because he told the truth! ELEANOR. How do you mean GEORGE. Everything he told me here, this afternoon, was true. ELEANOR. Not when I was here! When I 631 THE CI TY was here, he was calling you a thief, and a cheat, and a liar! GEORGE. He was right! ELEANOR. No! I don't understand you! GEORGE. Your brother understands - and I've withdrawn my name from the nomination! I'm giving up all the things it seemed to me I wanted most, - and you, most of all, Eleanor! I thought I minded losing the others, but in com- parison with what I feel now!!! You loved me because I was honest! ELEANOR. Not because, - but, of course, if you were not honest - GEORGE. Well, I'm not - I'm not I ELEANOR. You are! I know you are! GEORGE. No! I've lied and tricked and cheated in business, and I've got to pay for it! ELEANOR. And all this you did deliberately 632 THE CITY 633 GEORGE. The only excuse I have, if you can call it an excuse, is that I didn't realize what I was doing! I did what others I had been taught to respect, to pattern on, did before me, -what others were doing around me! I ac- cepted cheating for business diplomacy. I ex- plained lying as the commercial code! I looked on stealing as legitimate borrowing! But I was a grown man, and in possession of my senses, and I had no real excuse! Eleanor, I've been a business "crook," in a big way, perhaps, but still a "crook," and I'm not good enough for you! [A pause. ELEANOR. What are you going to do GEORGE. Give up all the positions I haven't any right to fill. Pay back interest I hadn't any right to get, and money I hadn't any right to use! Give up principal I gained on somebody 634 THE CITY else's risk than my own! Begin all over again at the bottom, but on the level, and climb, only if I can do it on the square! ELEANOR. I understand' I understand it all, now! You've done wrong GEORGE. Yes. ELEANOR. Oh, so wrong, but you're owning all up, and giving all up! GEORGE. Yes. ELEANOR. You aren't being pressed to GEORGE. Of course I could fight it, but what's the use It's true! Now I realize that, I can't own up fast enough! I can't begin over again soon enough! I can't eat or sleep or take a long breath even, till I'm on the level again with myself. Even at the price of you! But I'll make you believe in me again, Eleanor, - you'll see, if we live long enough! THE CITY 635 ELEANOR. We don't have to live any longer for that. GEORGE. In what way ELEANOR. The man who has done wrong, and can own it up, - face life all over again empty- handed, emptying his own hands of his own accord, turn his back on everything he counted on and lived for, because it is the right thing to do, and because -leaving the world out of it - he had to be honest ith .libmsnif.! -- tha L - George - is the mar. ' iGok up to ten times more than the one who was bo)n goo6 anc lived good because he never was teIm)2 t to enioy the spoils of going wrong! It's the man whom it costs something to be good, - that's what makes real character! And to me - [she goes up to him, and puts her hand on his arm] you, here, to-day, are twice the man you were yesterday! You 636 THE CITY needed a test, though we didn't know it! And at the same time we found that out, you had to go through it; and thank God, your real self has triumphed! To-day you are the man I loved yesterday! GEORGE. [Looking away.] Now, I know what those people mean who say a man gets all the Hell that's coming to him in this world, -[look- ing at her] - and all the Heaven, too! AhE CtLRrAtN FALLS