as Act Two—a month later. It is about seven o'clock in the evening.
are discovered. TOM
is sitting by the table, frowning, his mind evidently troubled about
something. He is making a polite but ineffectual attempt to appear
interested in LEONORA's
effervescent chatter. She is never still for a moment but flits from
chair to chair, sitting on the arms, perching on the edge of the table,
picking up books and throwing them down again, going to look out of the
over to TOM
and looking at him with a quizzical smile) Now I ask you, what
are you so gloomy about? (TOM
attempts a smile.) Heavens, what a movie-actor smile! Don't do it
again. You needn't be polite with me, you know. I love to talk to
myself, and your replies are no good anyway. A second ago you said "no"
when any perfect gentleman should have said "yes" and agreed with me.
bit confused) I guess I'm a little off color tonight.
on the edge of the table) Indigestion. I ate too much myself. We all
do out here. (TOM
looks at her impatiently.) But it's jolly to be a glutton for once
in a way after a starve-and-grow-thin studio diet. (with a chuckle)
How Gab gorges himself! He's losing his spiritual waist line since he
began coming out here. Have you noticed?
he's gradually assuming the blubber of prosperity—given up free verse
for free food. He hasn't written a poem since my last Welch rabbit.
Thank God the situation has some redeeming features.
he does real stuff every now and then, when he forgets himself for a
moment. (She goes over to the window and looks out at the garden.)
Where's mother? I haven't seen her since dinner.
told me I could call her that. She's a dear. Where is she, I wonder?
I don't know.
chaperoning those two. (TOM
winces. She comes back to the table and commences to roll a
cigarette.) How bored they must be with each other! It's too dark for
Gab to read his poems, and without the sound of his own voice to spur
him on, he's a stick. (She fixes the cigarette in her holder and
lights it.) I'll bet they're holding hands and saying: "Ain't nature
(He gets up and strides up and down the room.)
on the edge of the table and smoking—calmly) You're not jealous of
Gab, are you?
to appear scornful) Jealous? Do you think I'm crazy?
don't know. You would be if you were. I assure you Gab's entirely
harmless. He's in love with himself and there's not a rival in sight. (looking
at him keenly) Do sit down! (He does so.) There's something
wrong with you. What is it? Tell me. (doubtfully) You're not
falling in love with me, are you?
I am not.
needn't be so unflatteringly emphatic about it. But it's just as well.
You have a certain physical appeal, as I've often said, but I've given
up sex for good. I've been through it all, and there's nothing in it for
anyone who wants to accomplish something real.
to smile) I'll take your word for it, Miss. Barnes.
next time you call me that I hope you choke. What's the matter with Leo?
Of course, it isn't my real name. I'll bet you can't guess the horrible
title my silly parents wished on me.
Imagine, Pearl! I simply couldn't put up with Pearl. We once had a
colored cook who was called Leonora—she was named after a race horse,
she said—and I liked the sound and swiped it. So Leonora I've been ever
since. (She sees that TOM
is staring grumpily before him and not paying any attention to her.)
What ho! (TOM
comes to with a start.) There is something wrong. Don't you feel
it business worries, then?
eagerly at this excuse) Yes—sort of.
You haven't been dabbling in Wall street and robbing the till, have you?
(clapping her hands) I say! That would give me a moment—seeing a
movie crook in real life.
I'm sorry, but I'll have to disappoint you.
out her cigarette) I suppose it's the price of paper or some other
dull thing that's bothering you. (She jumps to the floor and
stretches, yawning.) This is a bore! (LUCY,
enter from the french windows in the rear.) Hello, hello, hello!
Here you are at last. (LUCY
looks at her coldly, MRS.
smiles, while GABRIEL
appears furious at finding LEONORA
up from his chair, and adopting a pose of smiling joviality) Hello!
We didn't expect you back from your walk so soon. (LUCY
sit down on right. MRS.
takes the chair in the middle. LEONORA
hops to the edge of the table again.)
was becoming chilly outside so we thought we'd better come back. (There
is an uncomfortable silence following this. Each one appears to be
trying desperately to find something to say.)
out impulsively) I say! This is a bore! You're all as glum as a tree
full of owls. Let's do something, anything!
a smile) I'm game. What do you suggest?
all motor down and take in some theatre.
a good idea, Leo. What do you think, Lucy?
a wan smile) I don't care, Mother.
there some perfectly shocking burlesque we can
see? (clapping her hands) That would be a lark!
Speak when you're spoken to, Gab, my dear. (to TOM)
Isn't there one?
a smile) I'm hardly posted on that subject.
Of course, Leo is only joking. She knows Mother wouldn't go.
bet she would. She's more of a sport than any of us. Now I ask you,
wouldn't you, Mother? (LUCY
shows her indignation at this familiarity and turns to GABRIEL
who is biting his lips and glowering at LEONORA.)
It's so long since I've been to one, my dear, I'm afraid I'm not young
enough to enjoy them any more. (LUCY
looks at her mother in shocked surprise.) However I suggest that
we eliminate all serious plays for tonight. I'd like something
cheerful—something with jokes and music—say, a good musical comedy.
won't find that, Mrs. Ashleigh, in a country where vulgarity is mistaken
They do it differently in Jersey City, eh, Gabriel?
mind Gab. He's only posing. He went with me to see "Oh, You Cutey!" last
winter—the press agent gave us passes, you know—and nearly went into
hysterics laughing. And then the papers came out next day and called it
the most vulgar exhibition that had ever disgraced a New York theatre.
from his chair—furiously) I was not myself that night—and you know
were squiffy, you mean? All the rest of the audience knew that, too. But
that's no excuse. In vino veritas, you know, and all the rest of it.
has been glancing over the paper) This looks good—the new show at
the Casino. (getting up) I'll phone for the tickets and order the
afraid—Thank you just the same, Drayton, but—the fact is I've just
remembered an engagement—
Will you hold your tongue, you little—(He controls himself by a
violent effort. LEONORA
laughs and makes a face at him.)
Sorry you can't come. That'll make it four. (He starts for the door.)
I don't think I care much for that type of amusement either.
I say, here's our party breaking up already.
Then you won't come?
I think not.
Do come, dear! I'm sure you'll enjoy a little foolishness for a change.
No, I've a headache, Mother. I think I'll stay home.
perhaps we'd all better stay.
You three go. (looking at TOM
defiantly) I'm sure Gabriel will keep me company, part of the
time at least—(she turns to GABRIEL,
questioningly) if his engagement—?
with malicious satisfaction) Oh, that was nothing of any importance.
I can phone. I'll be delighted to remain, Mrs. Drayton.
Then that's settled. (She flits up to TOM
who is standing uncertainly, glaring at GABRIEL,
and gives him a push.) Hurry on now, and phone. They may be sold
That'll be three. (He goes out left.)
do hope there'll be acrobats in it! I adore acrobats! They're so
decorative in their tights and spangles. I'd just love to paint them.
I'm sure the acrobats would recognize you as a fellow-craftsman if they
ever saw your work.
could say something of your trapeze stunts in free verse but I won't.
You can't pick a fight with me tonight, Gab. I ate too much dinner.
is framing some biting retort) When does it start, I wonder? Look
in the paper, Leonora, will you? (LEONORA
picks up the paper and commences glancing through it.)
You won't miss anything if you're late, Mother. Those productions were
concocted with an eye for the comfort of the Tired Business Man.
we'll have one with us—Tom; so he ought to enjoy it. (She turns over
the paper angrily.) I never could find anything in the beastly
enters from the left.)
had nothing left but a stage box. I told them to save that for us.
box! Good heavens, look at me. I can't go in a box.
You're all right.
a significant look in the direction of LUCY
No, really, I couldn't go looking like this. Besides, I've been thinking
while you were gone that perhaps, after all, I better not go.
do come along.
sure Mr. Ashleigh will expect me home early after my staying out here
for the past two nights. So I really don't think I'd better go. You take
Leo, Tom, and send the car back for me.
All right, Mother, if you think it's best. (LUCY
show very evident disapproval of this plan.)
not call it all off for tonight?
I guess not! I must have my acrobats tonight or die. (She looks
ruefully at her smock.) But what am I going to wear, I ask you? If I
go this way they'll think I'm one of the performers.
Lucy can let you have something, I'm sure.
to her feet—her eyes blazing) I—I'd be glad to, but you seem to
forget Leo is much smaller than me.
Oh, I can fix that all right. I've worn too many hired costumes to
masquerades not to know how to make things look a fit. With a few
pins—You can let your maid help me. I'll be ready in no time. I can wear
your fur coat till we get in the box and then sit in back. Noone'll know
the difference. Lucy, you're a dear!
at his watch) We'll have to hurry. The car'll be here at quarter of.
worry, ole love. I'll be in my soup and fish as soon as you will. Show
me what I can wear, Lucy. I promise not to tear it.
voice trembling a little) Very well—if
you don't mind. (She walks toward
doorway on left, biting her lips.)
I think it's no end of a lark. You must come up too, Mother, and help
tuck me in. Will you?
an uneasy glance at LUCY—uncertainly)
Of course, my dear. (They all go out left leaving GABRIEL
for a moment in silent rage) Of all the damned cheek! (He gets up
and strides furiously up and down the room, running his hands through
his hair. Suddenly he utters a loud "damn" and picks a book from
the table as if he were going to hurl it at someone. He still has the
book held high in the air when LUCY
returns. He puts it back on the table sheepishly.)
face still flushed with anger—irritably) What in the world are you
doing with that book?
her and sitting down on a chair close to the lounge on which she throws
herself) Er—to tell you the truth I was about to give way to a
stupid fit of rage.
the way Leo jumped at wearing your gown. It was so nervy of her, so
sure she's perfectly welcome to it if she thinks she can make it fit.
was never so ashamed of anything in my life.
wouldn't take it so seriously if I were you.
is too preposterous at times.
Please! Let's drop the subject.
an ill grace) I beg your pardon. (There is
an uncomfortable silence. LUCY
stares straight in front of her, now and
then casting a side glance of irritation at GABRIEL
who is fidgeting nervously in his chair,
and biting his nails fiercely.)
to make talk) Do you know anything good
for a headache?
never brought me any relief.
supposed to be good.
isn't. (The talk abruptly ceases.)
an unpleasant pause—desperately) Is it very bad?
My toothache? I haven't—
I mean your headache.
I'm so sorry. Isn't there anything I can do?
thank you, I think not. (Another long silence. GABRIEL
becomes more nervous than ever. He is evidently restraining an
outburst of rage only by a mighty effort. LUCY's
lips are compressed and she glares at him angrily.)
an exasperated tone) How shall we spend the evening? Can't we—? (He
can find nothing to suggest.)
do you say to a walk?
just come from one; and besides, it's too chilly.
up from his chair) There must be something we can do. We can't sit
here all night like a couple of—(he hesitates, then blurts it out)
of mummies. It's ridiculous!
eyebrows raised) If you would rather go home—
takes her hand in both of his, much against her will) You know I
didn't mean that, Lucy. I'm terribly out of key. Don't be cruel to me. I
only want—I love you so much I can't bear to have anyone—Forgive me,
Lucy! (He raises her hand and kisses it.)
her hand away—pettishly) Don't be silly!
accents of wounded pride) Silly!
is liable to come in any moment.
Oh! Yes, of course, you're right. I'm too
impulsive. I forget—these infernally stupid conditions.
tries to wither him with a look but he does not see it. He sits
down again and leans his chin on his hands and stares soulfully
into space. LUCY
taps her foot nervously on the floor. There is a
What are they doing all this time?
They haven't been gone five minutes.
It seems five years. (LUCY
stiffens at this remark.) You wouldn't care to have me read to
you, would you? (He reaches into his pocket with a complacent smile
and takes out some manuscript.) I've a couple of new poems here I'm
sure you haven't heard. I think they're some of the best things I've
done—and it was your inspiration which gave birth to them all. Shall I
No, please, not now! (GABRIEL
is dumbfounded. LUCY
attempts a feeble smile.) I've such a headache I'm afraid I
couldn't appreciate them tonight.
the poems back in his pocket—in hurt tones) I'm afraid my poems are
commencing to bore you. (He waits for LUCY
to deny this, but as she does not, he continues huffily) In fact,
I'm quite sure they bore you.
weary vexation) Please don't misunderstand me. I meant nothing of
there was something in your voice which—(with hurt dignity) I
promise I won't bore you with them in the future.
One doesn't feel in the mood for poetry all the time. We can't all be
a superior air) Decidedly not.
And some of your poems are—well—rather difficult to understand.
One must possess a fine soul to really appreciate any true poetry.
By which you mean I haven't?
I don't mean anything. I wasn't thinking of what I was saying. What
difference does it make what I meant? My mind is on something else. What
time is it, I wonder? They'll be late. What can be keeping them up there
so long? (LUCY
makes no reply but sighs wearily. GABRIEL
walks up and down, frowning, muttering to himself, on the verge of an
trace of contempt in her voice) You're in a fine temper tonight.
And why shouldn't I be?
should you be?
a deep breath) Because—(bursting forth) I tell you I won't
endure it any longer! (He bangs his fist on the table.)
I don't know what you're talking about.
yes, you do! You aren't blind. You can see what's in front of your eyes,
can't you? (raging) I'll tell you what I mean. I mean this
shameless affair between your husband and Leo which is going on openly
right here, right in your own house. And if you don't put a stop to it,
I refuse to discuss the matter with you.
Please don't be angry with me, Lucy. Don't take that attitude. Why
shouldn't we discuss it with each other? No one else cares. (flying
off again) It's an insult to our intelligence—the way they flaunt it
before us. It's—it's revolting! We've got to put a stop to it, that's all!
for yourself (her voice trembling) For my part, Tom is free to do
as he chooses.
Just you try and see how far you're free to do as you choose. You'll
soon have your eyes opened.
mistaken. We are both equally free. We signed a mutual agreement to that
effect the night before we were married.
Pooh! A lot of attention he'd pay to that if you ever dared go as far as
pale) I don't understand you.
mean you won't understand me. It seems you prefer to be blind.
I see a purely harmless flirtation, if that's what you're driving at.
a sneer) Purely harmless? Flirtation? Well, you are a little
innocent—if this isn't a pose of yours.
isn't a pose! It's what I believe in spite of all your nasty
insinuations. (her eyes filling) I know Tom would tell me if—(She
catches herself in time to choke back a sob.)
It's a shame, a beastly shame, for him to treat you this way. And
Leo—she's a little fool. But you must face the truth. It's decidedly
serious, this affair of theirs, when you come to know the facts.
You must be mad. You've no proof of what you're saying.
Haven't I? How do you know? You've heard Leo rave about him as her
cursed Great Blond Beast, haven't you? Have you read Nietzsche? Do you
think Leo has any moral scruples about anything? Well, I don't. And
where have they gone on all these motor trips?
always told us where they went.
do you think they told us the truth? Well, I am hardly as naive as that.
you mean they lied? Why do you say such a thing?
know—and that's enough. And how about all those teas alone together at
the studio? Do you think—Oh, but what's the use? If you won't see—
It's a lie! I won't listen to you!
more and more excited) It's the truth! And you've got to realize it.
Things can't go on in this way. I won't stand for it. It's too
to calm herself) You won't stand for it. How about me?
a thousand times easier for you. If he goes away you can always get a
million more just like him; while I—I can't live with any woman but Leo.
She's the only one who understands me, who can protect me from the
others—and from myself. I tell you she's necessary to me and I won't
give her up to any Philistine like him.
So this is your free comradship! Hasn't she a right to her own soul?
She's a fool!
if she loves someone else?
doesn't. She only thinks she does. She's a fool, I tell you! (after a
pause) You must break up this shameless intrigue.
you must. Tell him I won't permit it. Tell him he mustn't see Leo any
is absurd. Can you possibly think I'd degrade my pride to that extent?
But you must save me! I implore you, Lucy—for my sake! I'd be lost
without her, the fool! I couldn't even find my toothbrush. I wouldn't
even know when to get up. Besides, it's nothing to you but your hurt
pride because he's your husband. You don't really care anything about
eyes flashing) How dare you say that!
at her in amazement) But—you love me, don't you?
supreme contempt) Love you? Do you think I've lost my mind, you
stupid little egotist?
stunned for a moment) But—your actions—the things you've said—the
things you've let me believe—
was you who said you loved me.
I say that to every woman. They know I'm a poet and they expect it.
does your conceit make you think I took you seriously—had fallen in love
with you? Oh, this is too disgusting!
of the confessions you made about your unhappy home life. You can't deny
covers her face with her hands.) What was I to believe, in
heaven's name? (She doesn't answer or look up at him.) But you'll
persuade him not to run away with Leo, won't you? All the more reason to
do so if you love him and don't want to lose him. They're liable to fly
off tonight, I tell you. You have no idea what a fool Leo is.
Why don't you speak to her?
such a fool! She wouldn't listen to me. You're the only hope I've got.
And you ask me—to do this!
must! There's no other way.
back her tears of rage) And you can dare to
continue to insult me by suggesting such a thing?
Then you won't?
No! No! Let him go if he wants to. After what you've told me I never
want to see him again. And Leo has a right to go. She isn't married to
Did she tell you that? It's a lie! It's cowardly of her to deny it.
at him in amazement) You mean to say you are married?
course we are! We've been married for two years. (LUCY
suddenly commences to laugh hysterically. GABRIEL
is irritated.) What are you laughing at? It's the truth.
Nothing! Nothing! (She continues to laugh.)
only reason we concealed it was because we were taking a studio in
Greenwich Village together when we moved to New York and we were afraid
they'd consider us provincial down there if they knew. (angrily)
Why, in God's name, do you laugh like that?
laughter and tears) Go! Go away! I can't bear the sight of you.
Please go! I want to be alone. (She makes a motion as if she were
pushing him out of the room.)
looking down at her for a moment—angrily) Well—Oh, I'll go crazy if
you don't stop that racket! I must get out of this rabbit hutch. (dramatically)
I must go out under the stars—to think! I must have clean air to
breathe! (He rushes out of the french windows in the rear to the
stops laughing and hides her face in her hands and sobs violently.
After a moment MRS.
enters from the hallway. She comes quickly over to LUCY
with an anxious expression.)
her hand on LUCY's
shoulder) Lucy! Lucy! What's the matter? (LUCY
doesn't answer but sobs more violently than ever. MRS.
sits down beside her on the lounge and puts her arm around
her—soothingly.) There, there, dear. Have
a good cry and get it over with. (LUCY
gradually grows calmer and finally lifts her tear-stained face to her
kisses her and smiles.) And now tell me the cause of this
from the lounge—a bit wildly) It's nothing, Mother. I'm tired and my
nerves are worn out, I suppose. I haven't slept much the past week.
I've a splitting headache; and, oh, I'm so sick of everything and
everybody—I wish I were dead—or away off someplace alone!
Now, dear, you mustn't begin again in that foolish morbid strain.
Leave me alone! I'll be what I want to be in spite of all of you!
I didn't mean that, Mother. I don't know what I'm saying or doing any
more. Just let me alone.
what happened? Please tell me. Did Gabriel—
No! No! What has he to do with me?
seems to me, my dear, he's had a lot too much
to do with you during the last month.
all I can say is you must all have evil minds if you're so suspicious of
Why, Lucy! Do you realize what you're saying?
nothing to me, less than nothing. I don't care if he lives or dies. He
was amusing, that was all.
Even his love-making, Lucy? Was that amusing?
a poet and he makes love to every woman. He told me so himself. I never
took him seriously.
one person who was made very unhappy by it—someone who loves you very
Who? You, Mother?
not. I gave you credit for too much good sense. Gabriel didn't bother me
in the least.
trace of defiance in her tone) It couldn't have been anyone else.
I was speaking of—Tom.
a bitter laugh) Tom!
do you adopt that tone? Don't you believe me? Do you imagine it's been
pleasant for him to see you always with that crack-brained piece of
He's had plenty of consolation.
a smile) You mean little Leo? Don't be silly, child.
Silly! If you knew—
her—calmly) I do know all about it, and it's your own fault. What
could you expect? When you and Gabriel were eternally mooning around
together, did you think Leo and Tom would mope in separate corners until
you were through amusing yourselves? Remember the contract you drew up
yourself—equal liberty of action. You've no reason to complain, my dear.
It serves you right.
And you can taunt me with it in this manner?
I can. You deserve it.
shameless, disgusting liaison!
smiling reproof) Those are strong words. I didn't think they were
used any more outside of cheap melodrama.
are no words vile enough to describe what I feel.
trifle impatiently) Come, Lucy! Don't overact your part of the
abused wife. Vile? Shameless, disgusting liaison? What extravagant terms
to apply to an amusing flirtation.
Flirtation? Then you don't know, after all. (bitterly) Or are you
just trying to hide it from me? It seems as if there weren't a word of
truth left in the world.
Lucy! Is that the way you speak to your mother? (LUCY
does not answer and her face remains hard. MRS.
plainly worried now, speaks with an attempt at calmness.) Let's
get to the bottom of this. I don't understand you. What is it I don't
You don't seem to know—or you couldn't taunt me with it—that Leo is now
and stunned, stares at the distracted LUCY
in amazement for a moment) Oh!
you know! Now tell me it's my fault—that it serves me right—that I
brought it on myself!
What a wicked lie! I'm ashamed of you!
a hard laugh) Of course, I knew you wouldn't believe it. You think
everyone's so nice and proper. People don't do such things in your
world. (She laughs mockingly.)
has your mind become so distorted that you can believe an infamous
falsehood like that?
believe what I've seen, what I've suspected, what I now know to be the
truth. Do you think I'm blind, that everyone else is blind? Where did
they go on all their motor trips? Do you think I can put any trust in
the foolish tales they told us?
Stop, Lucy! I refuse to listen to you when you accuse Tom of
deliberately lying to you, of deceiving you in the basest manner.
Of course he's a liar! They're all liars. Everyone lies! What about
their teas together all alone in the studio? And the times they were
supposed to be at exhibitions of paintings, which I know he hates? And
the night he said he had to stay in town? Do you—does he think I'm a
you out of your mind? Do you realize what you're saying?
Her Great Blond Beast! Well, she can have him! (She shudders.)
You must give him a message from me. I loathe him too much to speak to
him I'll leave this house tomorrow—and I never want to see him again.
to be diplomatic—suppressing her grief and anxiety) I will if you'll
stop talking wildly and listen to me for a moment. (LUCY
looks at her mother with stubborn defiance.) Come, Lucy, please
sit down. You're trembling all over. I'm afraid you'll be ill. Sit down
and rest for a while and try to calm yourself (LUCY
reluctantly sits down on the lounge beside her mother.) What a
state you've worked yourself into! And all for nothing. There. Sit still
and listen to me.
I warn you in advance, Mother, that nothing you can say will make me
change the resolve I've taken.
You may do whatever you think is best, dear. You can come home tomorrow
and stay with your father and me for a while if you like. The change may
do you good.
Come home? And be driven insane by father's eternal nagging and
questioning? And even you—(she chokes back her tears) are against
You know that isn't so, dear.
won't go home. I don't need any help or sympathy. I'll go out alone and
live my own life as I choose.
you like, dear. No one is objecting to that. And now listen and I'll
explain all this misunderstanding away. (coaxingly) Will you
believe your mother when she swears to you that this apparent affair
between Leo and Tom was all a secret plot of ours—Tom's and mine—to make
you jealous, to rid you of the nasty influence of that detestable
Gabriel person? (But LUCY
has gone too far to believe anything but her own suspicions. She
stares at her mother with wild-eyed scorn.)
Mother! I can't bear it! Do you expect me to believe that silly
cock-and-bull story—that you and Tom suspected me of something terrible
and deliberately planned to do your best to make me unhappy and
miserable? Do you think I'm a child to be put off with a silly tale like
my dear, you haven't heard—
hysterically and clapping her hands over her ears) I don't want to
hear any more! Let me alone!
the futility of argument) All right, dear. I won't mention the
matter again. (LUCY
gradually grows calmer.) And now don't you think you'd better go
upstairs and go to bed? You'll be sick tomorrow if you don't.
Upstairs? With her? I'd die first!
the room on right) Then go in there and lie down on the couch. The
darkness will rest your eyes. (TOM
enters from the hallway. He is in evening clothes but his tie has not
yet been tied. LUCY
gets up abruptly and, without looking at him, walks into the next room
pulling the portieres shut behind her. TOM
looks after her gloomily.)
Did you see that? She never even looked at me.
mustn't mind her tonight, Tom. She's dreadfully upset.
isn't only tonight. It's every night. (throwing himself into a chair)
And I'm sick of it.
She might hear you.
I don't care if she does. It's about time she knew the way I feel about
I'm tired of being treated like a dog. And that fine plan of yours seems
to be messing things up worse than ever. This Leo is getting on my
nerves. She's too—too exuberant. I'm not in love with the idea of this
theatre party. I've a good notion to chuck it.
Perhaps you'd better.
No, I'll be darned if I will. Lucy'd only
think I wanted to spy on her and that little doggie of hers.
a sigh of comic despair) I see I've two
big children who need spanking instead of one.
nothing to laugh at. (getting up from his chair) I've half a mind
to go in and have it out with her right now.
his arm) No, Tom. Please don't—now.
she's in a dreadful state of nerves. She'd only become hysterical if
you started to quarrel with her. Wait until you come back. I'll see to
it she gets rested up before then, and willing to listen to reason.
real anxiety) She isn't really ill, is she?
almost a whisper) Someone's been telling her some nasty tales and—
nods and puts her finger to her lips. TOM
clenches his fists.) I'll bet it was that—
interrupting him) No, no. I'll explain it all to you later. Not
here. I can't now. She might hear me. (aloud) Do you want me to
tie that tie for you, you big baby, you?
I can tie it all right but I left it for Lucy—she usually—I thought I'd
have an excuse—
a smile) Poor boy. (LEONORA
comes tripping in from the hallway. She is dressed in a white evening
gown of LUCY's
which shows every evidence of having been shortened, tightened, and
otherwise made over with the aid of pins and basting thread.
has an air which carries it off. She is
bubbling over with delight at the strangeness of her make-up.)
I ask you, amn't I the ultimate gasp! My dear, if I dare to heave a sigh
I'll be in the nude. That will give the audience a moment. (to TOM)
You don't mind, do you?
You can go the limit as far as I'm concerned.
look quite bewitching in that dress, doesn't she, Tom? (The portieres
on the right are parted a trifle and LUCY's
pale face is seen for a moment and hurriedly withdrawn.) White is
a mocking grimace) Blessed are the pure—whatever it is they inherit.
tie) I thought you were all ready. I say, look at your tie. You
can't go with me like that. Here. Let me fix it. Bend down, my Beast—or
page me a stepladder. (She ties the tie for him and slaps his face
roguishly.) There. Now aren't we beautiful?
at his watch—sulkily), You've got three minutes to put on the rest
of your armor if there's anything missing.
all ready, I think, excepting my coat. (suddenly feeling her face
with her hands) Oh, I've forgotten my beauty spots. I must have
beauty spots! They'll help cover my nakedness. (She lifts up her
skirts and skips out of the room, shouting back over her shoulder)
I'll be right down.
beginning to feel in his pockets) Dammit, here I am starting out
without a cent in my pockets—a nice pickle we'd have been in. (He
starts for the doorway, left.)
a minute. I'm going up to phone to Mr. Ashleigh. (in a low voice)
And I've a few words to say to you before you go.
here. (She casts a significant glance at the room on the right.)
We'll turn these lights out so they won't disturb her. I hope she's
asleep, poor dear. (She switches off the lights. The room is in
darkness except for the light from the hallway. She and TOM
go out, left, and can be heard conversing as they go up the stairs.
The portieres on the right are carefully parted and LUCY
enters. She stops and stands motionless for a
moment or so in an attitude of strained attention, listening for
some sound from the hallway. Hearing nothing, she goes to the table and
throws herself into a chair beside it. She rests her head on her
outstretched arms and sobs softly. Making an effort to control herself,
she drys her eyes hastily with her handkerchief, gets up, and walks
nervously from the table to the windows in rear and back again.
(She stands by the table for a
minute staring straight before her, her expression betraying the somber
thoughts which are passing through her brain. Then, with a quick
movement of decision, she pulls out a drawer in the table and slowly
takes a revolver from it. She looks at it with frightened eyes and puts
it down on the table with a convulsive shudder.
(There is the sound of a motor from
the roadway outside. LUCY
gives a nervous start and looks quickly around the room as if
searching for a hiding place. She finally hurries back into the room on
the right, pulling the portieres together behind her. The noise of the
motor grows steadily louder. At last the machine stops in front of the
main entrance to the house, and only the soft purr of the engine is
heard. The glare from the headlamps pierces the darkness beyond the
(Someone is heard walking along the
hallway to the front door. The outer door is heard opening. There is the
brief murmur of the voices of the chauffer and the maid. Then the door
is dosed again. TOM's
voice is heard calling from the top of the stairs: "Is that the
car?" The maid's voice answers: "Yes, sir", and she is heard
returning to the back of the house.
are heard conversing as they come down the stairs in the hall. LEONORA's
infectious laughter rings out. TOM
appears in evening dress in the doorway left, and looks toward the
door on the right. He calls softly: "Lucy"; then takes a step
forward into the room. LEONORA
calls to him from the hall: "We'll be late." TOM
makes a movement of impatience and raises his voice: "Lucy!")
the hallway) She's probably out in the garden mooning with Gab. Come
allows a muttered "damn" to escape him, and walks back into
(The outer door is again opened and
comes out from behind the portieres and goes quickly to the table.
The sound of the limousine door being slammed is heard. A wild look of
determination comes into LUCY's
face and she snatches the revolver from the table. The noise of the
motor increases in volume. The curtain starts to fall. The car outside
starts. Closing her eyes tightly, LUCY
lifts the revolver to her temple. The curtain hides her from view. As
it touches the stage there is the sound of a shot.)