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Contents   Prologue   I   II   III  Epilogue


  After an interval of three minutes during which the theatre remains darkened, the curtain is again raised.

  The second that the curtain starts to rise the shot is again heard. As the curtain goes up LUCY is discovered standing in an attitude of abject terror, the revolver still clutched in her trembling hand. Suddenly it drops from her nerveless grasp and she crumples up and falls to the floor. She lies there motionless.

  The outside door is opened and shut and TOM comes into the room from the hallway followed by LEONORA. He switches on the lights. Both of them utter exclamations of terror as they see the prostrate form of LUCY almost at their feet.

  TOM—Good God!

  LEONORA—Heavens! She must have fainted. (She sinks to her knees beside LUCY and starts rubbing one of her wrists. GABRIEL appears outside the french windows. He takes one look at the scene inside and then hurries into the room.)

  TOM—(He is looking at the revolver with an expression of dazed stupefaction.) No. (He picks the revolver from the, floor.) Look! (MRS. ASHLEIGH enters from the left.)

  MRS. ASHLEIGH—(rushing over to her daughter) Lucy! (She leans down and puts her hand over LUCY's heart.)

  TOM—(dazedly) She shot herself!

  GABRIEL—Shot herself! (He stands petrified.)

  LEONORA—(in matter-of-fact tones) Well, if she did she must have missed. She has no wound anywhere. (peremptorily) You, Gab, don't stand there like an idiot. Get some water. (GABRIEL hurries out.)

  TOM—(opens up the revolver and stares at it stupidly—a sheepish relieved grin spreads slowly over his face. He chuckles.) Hmm!

  LEONORA—(looking up at him) Well?

  TOM—I forgot—it's never been loaded. (GABRIEL comes back with a glass of water. LEO dips her handkerchief in it and dabs it on LUCY's face. LUCY gasps and opens her eyes; then struggles hastily to her feet. She backs away from TOM to the right of room. GABRIEL follows her.)

  GABRIEL—(hurriedly—in a low voice) You weren't going to do—that—on account of what I said this evening—about them, were you? (LUCY nods slowly. GABRIEL goes on earnestly.) Don't be a fool and take me seriously. No one ever does, you know. Not a word of truth in what I said. Perfectly harmless. Just my infernal jealous imagination. Believe that! (He comes back beside LEO.)

  TOM—(receiving a nudge from MRS. ASHLEIGH, goes to LUCYpleadingly) Lucy. (She throws herself into his arms and sobs softly. He pats her shoulder and soothes her.) There! There! It's all over, little sweetheart.

  LEONORA—(throwing her arms around GABRIEL) Kiss me, Gab. It's being done just now.

  GABRIEL—(very dignified) You are a fool! (But he kisses her.)

  LUCY—(suddenly breaking away from TOMin tones of frightened wonder) But the shot—the shot!

  ALL—(puzzled) Shot? What shot? (The chauffer comes into the room carrying a removable wheel with a flat tire.)

  THE CHAUFFER—Pardon, sir. (They all turn and look at him.) It isn't bad, sir. (He points to the tire.) See, sir. Fix up as good as new. (There is a roar of laughter as the realization of what the shot really was comes to them. The chauffer looks from one to the other of them with open mouth, as if he thought they were crazy.)

  LEONORA—(turning to LUCY and pointing dramatically to the tire) General Gabler's pistol! Fancy that, Hedda!

(The Curtain Falls)

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