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ACT 3

SCENEThe studio about three o'clock on a hot Sunday afternoon in July of the same year. John, Steve, and Ted are discovered. Steve, dressed in his dark suit, is sprawled out in one of the Morris chairs near the table. John is painting at an unfinished portrait clamped on the big easel in under the skylight. His hands are paint-stained and a daub of brown shows on one of his cheeks. He is dressed in a dirty paint-smirched pair of grey flannel trousers, a grey flannel shirt open at the neck, and a pair of "sneaks". His face is haggard and dissipated-looking. Ted is sitting on the window-seat idly watching the street below. He wears a shabby light suit and a pair of tan shoes run down at the heel. A straw hat is perched on the back of his head.

  JOHN—(throwing down his brush with an exclamation of hopeless irritation) It's no use; I might as well quit. Nothing seems to take on life any more. (He goes over and sits by Ted.)

  STEVE—No use trying to work with that feeling. I know; I've had experience with it myself.

  JOHN—The sad part of it is, mine seems to be chronic.

  STEVE—You'll get over it. You're worrying too much about other things. When they go the emptiness'll go with them. (John does not answer but stares moodily at the street below.)

  TED—(after a pausewith a groan of boredom) What a hellish long day Sunday is! On the level, I'd be better satisfied if I had to work. Nothing to do all day and no place to go that's fit to go to.

  STEVE—Better advise your editor to get out a Sunday afternoon paper. Tell him you're anxious to work more for the same pay; that ought to fetch him.

  TED—You don't call that emaciated envelope I drag down every week "pay" do you? I'm getting less now than ever. In fact it's only the devil's tenderness I wasn't fired when they cut down for the summer. Every time my high literary ambitions fall to earth for lack of appreciative editors, and I have to hunt a job again, I find out I'm worth less money. They'll have me selling the papers some day, at this rate.

  STEVE—How about short-story writing on the Sabbath? Have you any religious convictions which bar you from that?

  TED—I've already written more short stories than Maupassant and O. Henry put together—and I sold one. I'll have to wait until some philanthropist endows a college for the higher education of editors before I stand a chance.

  STEVE—You mentioned an idea for a play. Play writing is a good, healthy Sabbath exercise.

  TED—Oh, my ideas are plentiful enough, but execution doesn't seem to be my long suit. I'm always going to start that play—tomorrow. (gloomily) They ought to write on my tombstone: The deceased at last met one thing he couldn't put off till tomorrow. It would be rather an appropriate epitaph.

  STEVE—(with a grin) What time did you get in last night?

  TED—This morning.

  STEVE—I thought this was a little morning-after pessimism. I don't want to preach but isn't that the answer, Ted? And you too, John? (John shrugs his shoulders indifferently.)

  TED—I suppose so; but the helluvit is I never see that side of the argument till afterwards. You can't keep a squirrel on the ground; not unless you cut down all the trees.

  JOHN—(to Ted) Where did we end up last night?

  TED—(shaking his head sorrowfully) Ask me not. All I know is I feel like a wet rag today.

  STEVE—(smilingly quotes) Have drowned my glory in a shallow cup.

  TED—Oh, stop that noise, Mr. Ree Morse!

  JOHN—(impatiently to Steve) It's all right for you to talk. Everything is running smoothly with you; but just try a week or two at my job and see if you won't want to cut loose and forget it all for a while on Saturday night. Checking sugar bags and barrels down on the docks! Oh, it's a nice job, mine is! You'd have to do it yourself for a while to know how bad it is—day after day of monotonous drudgery—life nothing but a panorama of sugar bags! (with a sudden burst of feeling) Oh, how I loathe that rotten dock with its noise and smells and its—sugar bags. I can't paint any more—not even pretty pictures. I've wanted to do some real work on Sundays but—I don't know how to express it—something is like a dead weight inside me—no more incentive, no more imagination, no more joy in creating,—only a great sickness and lassitude of soul, a desire to drink, to do anything to get out of myself and forget.

  STEVE—The trouble with you is you brood too much over the row with your family. Don't take it so seriously. It'll all be over and forgotten before you know it. Those family brawls are part of a lifetime and we all have them and get over them without serious results.

  JOHN—It's not my family's antagonism; it's Maud,—her letters to me; every one of them showing she can't understand, although she's trying so hard to; that she thinks I'm throwing my life away, and hers too, on a whim; that she has no faith in my ultimate success; but that her love is so great she will stick to me till the end—to a lost cause, a forlorn hope. (He hides his face in his hands with a groan.) Oh, it's hell to love and be loved by a girl who can't understand; who, you know, tries to and cannot; who loves you, and whose life you are making miserable and unhappy by trying to be true to yourself.

  STEVE—(his voice full of sympathetic understanding) If you feel that way, there's only one thing to do; go back home, get married, save up your money for awhile and then come back again when your mind is free once more. Or else—give up the girl for good and all.

  TED—That's the idea!

  JOHN—What would life be worth if I gave her up?

  STEVE—Then go back to her.

  JOHN—I can't go back—now.

  TED—Why, look here, at the end of six months or a year at the salary you'll get from father-in-law you ought to save enough to stay down here for an age.

  JOHN—You forget Maud.

  TED—It'll be different after you're married. She's sure to understand you better then. She'll take a selfish interest in trying to help you become something higher than a small town shop keeper.

  STEVE—There! You ought to be convinced now! Listen to the pitiless dissector of women's souls, the author of a thousand and one tales of love, passion, and divorce. If anyone can predict the vagaries of the "female of the species", surely he can.

  TED—(laughing) I'm a grand little predictor.

  JOHN—I'd be proving myself a cowardly weakling by giving in like that—and you know it.

  STEVE—You'd be showing more sense than you have in a long time.

  TED—Coward? Nonsense! It's just like this: There's no use slaving away at a job that's disgusting to you for the sole purpose of earning enough to live on. You don't have to do it, and you're only ruining your health and accumulating a frame of mind where you think the world hates you. If you had any time or energy to paint, it would be another thing. You'll have plenty of time up there and your mind won't be in such a rut.

  JOHN—It's useless for you to try and argue with me. I can't—and I won't—go back. Go back to Maud—a confessed failure! Is that what you advise me to do? Another thing; I know the conditions in Bridgetown, and you don't. You don't consider how I hate the town and how hostile all the surroundings are, when you talk of all the painting I could do. No. I've got to stay here, sink or swim. (A knock on the door. Babe Carter and Bessie enter. Bessie has matured from a girl into a very pretty woman since the night in Bridgetown when John announced his engagement. Her face has grown seriously thoughtful but her smile is as ready as ever. She looks much slenderer, in her blue tailor-made suit, stylish but severely simple. Babe has on a blue serge suit and carries a straw hat in his hand.)

  BABE—Hello, folks! We were on our way to the Museum and thought we'd drop in.

  TED—Welcome to the Newlyweds! (All exchange greetings. Bessie goes over and sits down by John. Babe takes a chair by the table.)

  BABE—What was all the argument about when we came in?

  JOHN—They're trying to persuade me to return to Bridgetown. Think of it!

  TED—John was bewailing his rotten job and his having no time or inclination for real work; and he was feeling love-sick and lonely for a certain young lady, so we suggested—

  JOHN—That I go back to Bridgetown. A fine remedy, that! Ask Bessie what I'd have to contend with up there. She knows. (to Bessie) I told them they didn't understand conditions or they wouldn't give me any such advice. Am I right?

  BESSIE—You are—even more so than you realize.

  JOHN—What do you mean?

  BESSIE—Oh, nothing; only don't go back whatever you do; anything rather than that—even your horrible position on the dock.

  JOHN—That's just what I told them.

  STEVE—We weren't thinking so much about Bridgetown. We had an idea that if John were married it would give him back the tranquility of mind he has lost; and since it's impossible for him to get married or paint down here we urged Bridgetown as a necessary evil.

  TED—That's it.

  BABE—I'm not so sure you're wrong there, myself.

  JOHN—(reproachfully) What! "Et to Brute."

  BABE—You're not satisfied here; you're brooding and worrying and drudging yourself to death without accomplishing anything. Once married, your whole attitude toward Bridgetown might change; and with an easy mind you can paint there as well as anywhere else.

  BESSIE—You're wrong, all of you.

  JOHN—Thanks, Bessie.

  BESSIE—My advice is: Don't get married.

  BABE—Oh, come now, that's pretty hard on me. I hope you're not speaking from experience.

  BESSIE—Foolish! Of course, I mean in John's case.

  JOHN—(puzzled) You don't think it wise for me to marry Maud?

  BESSIE—I certainly do not.

  JOHN—But why? Because I have no money?

  BESSIE—That's one reason; but it wasn't the one I had in mind.

  JOHN—What did you have in mind?

  BESSIE—I can't explain very well. It's more of a feeling than a real, good reason. I know Maud so well—much better than you do, John, although you'll probably never admit that—and I know you so well—much better than you know yourself; and you won't admit that either—and that's my reason.

  JOHN—(indignantly) You don't believe we love each other?

  BESSIE—Oh, yes I do.

  JOHN—Then why shouldn't we marry?

  BESSIE—Don't get so excited about it. My opinion is very likely all wrong.

  JOHN—I should hope so. You were taking a stand exactly like father's in regard to you and Babe. That isn't like you, Bessie.

  BESSIE—It does seem that way, doesn't it? Well, I apologize if I was, for I had no intention of doing anything of the sort. I take back all I said. Do what you want to. Stay here till the last string snaps. And now, let's change the subject. Have you sold any of those drawings of yours?

  JOHN—(despondently) No. I haven't had much chance to go around with them. The editor at Colpers Weekly seemed a little impressed and promised to consider them further, and bear me in mind for illustrating; but I haven't heard from him since.

  BESSIE—If he's going to bear you in mind, that's encouraging, at any rate.

  STEVE—I've been trying to convince John those drawings are salable, and all he has to do is push them; but he won't hear of it. (to Babe) You saw them, didn't you?

  BABE—Yes, he showed them to me.

  STEVE—Don't you think I'm right.

  BABE—I sure do.

  JOHN—(brightening up) Well, lets hope you're both right. It would be a great encouragement if I could land them somewhere. They represent the best I've got in me at that sort of work.

  BESSIE—Well, Babe, we better be going. (to Steve) May I use your mirror?

  BABE—O Vanity!

  STEVE—Go ahead. I don't think there's anything in there that shouldn't be seen. (Bessie goes across to the kitchenette.)

  BABE—Won't you fellows come over to the Museum with us?

  TED—Excuse me! Not today. I feel far from well.

  BABE—Morning after, eh? Won't you come, John?

  BESSIE—(from inside the kitchenette) Yes, do come, John.

  JOHN—No, I'm going to try and work a bit. (He gets up and goes over in front of the easel and stands looking at the unfinished painting.) Besides, I'm not dressed, or shaved, or anything fit to be seen with a lady.

  STEVE—Well, if I won't be too much of a number three I'll take a walk over with you. (Bessie comes out of the kitchenette. Babe goes toward the door. Steve gets his straw hat from the kitchenette and follows Babe.)

  BESSIE—(going to John) Come along, John. We'll wait while you change clothes. You look all worn out and the fresh air will do you good.

  JOHN—No; this is the only day I have and I must try to work at least.

  BESSIE—You don't look at all well lately, do you know it?

  JOHN—I don't get much sleep.

  BESSIE—(looking at him searchingly) You're sure you're not letting your troubles drive you to drink, or anything like that?

  JOHN—(irritably) No no, of course not! What ideas you get into your head.

  BESSIE—I knew it wasn't so.

  JOHN—What wasn't so?

  BABE—(from the door) Coming Bess?

  BESSIE—Oh, nothing; just something I overheard. (She kisses him impulsively and walks quickly to door.) Here I am. (She goes out with Steve and Babe.)

  JOHN—(stares at the painting for a moment; then turns away impatiently) What's the use of this pretence? I don't want to paint. (He goes and sits down by Ted again.) Did you hear what Bessie just said?

  TED—No.

  JOHN—Asked me if I'd been drinking; said she overheard something to that effect.

  TED—(shrugging his shoulders) They say that about everybody who ever drank one glass of beer. Revengeful people with Brights Disease start those reports. Necessity is an awful virtue breeder.

  JOHN—Damned luck! I don't want her to loose faith in me.

  TED—I suppose you denied it?

  JOHN—Of course; what else could I do?

  TED—Confess you drank when you felt like it. Your sister isn't a prude. She'd simply tell you not to overdo it.

  JOHN—But that's what she insinuated—that I was overdoing it.

  TED—Everyone who drinks overdoes it sometimes. Speaking of this terrible vice reminds me; I think I have a bottle hidden in yonder kitchenette. (He walks over to the kitchenette.) You'll have a hair of the dog, won't you?

  JOHN—No, I'm going to cut it out.

  TED—(from inside) Got the R.E.s?

  JOHN—(fidgeting nervously) Oh, I guess I will have one after all. There's no use playing the Spartan.

  TED—Right you are. (He comes out with three glasses, one full of water, and lays them on the table; then takes a pint of whiskey from his pocket and uncorks it,, places it on the table beside glasses.) My lord, breakfast is served. (sings) "Ho, shun the flowing cup!" Better come along, Jonathan. (John goes to table and pours out a drink. Ted does the same.)

  TED—Top o' the morning! (raises his glass)

  JOHN—(with sudden resolution pours his drink back into the bottle) No, I'll be damned if I do. I've got to quit, that's all there is to it; and it might as well be now as anytime.

  TED—As you like, senor. Skoll! (He tosses down his drink; then makes a wry face.) Ugh! We must have been down on the water front when we did our shopping last night. (John laughs; goes over to the easel and picks up his palette and brushes, and stands squinting at the painting critically. Ted takes out a box of cigarettes and lights one.) Have a cigarette?

  JOHN—No thanks.

  TED—You're the slave of a fixed idea today. You're going to work whether you feel like it or not.

  JOHN—(laying down his brushes after making a few halfhearted dabs at the canvas) You're right; I don't feel like eating, or drinking, or smoking—or painting. (A timid knock on the door is heard.)

  TED—Who can that be?

  JOHN—(pointing to the bottle and glasses on the table) Get that stuff out of the way. (Ted hurries into the kitchenette with them and returns. The knock at the door is repeated, this time a little louder.)

  TEDCome in! (The door is heard slowly opening and a girl's voice asks in frightened tones: "Does John Brown live here?")

  JOHN—(stunned for a moment, rushes to the door) Maud! (He disappears behind the corner of the kitchenette.) You, too, Mother! What in the name of goodness brings you here? Come in, come in! (Ted hides in the kitchenette as they enter the studio. A moment later the door is heard closing as he makes his escape. John leads his mother to a seat by the table. She is very frightened by her strange surroundings, and keeps her eyes resolutely down cast from the nudes on the walls. She does not seem to have aged or changed a particleeven her dress looks like the same. Maud has grown stouter, more womanly, in the two years which have elapsed. Her face is still full of a spoiled willfulness, but it is much less marked in character than before. She is stylishly dressed in white and looks very charming.)

  JOHN—(taking Maud in his arms and kissing her) Oh, Maudie, it's so good to see you again! You'll pardon us, Mother, I hope?

  MRS. BROWN—(with an embarrassed smile) Oh, don't mind me.

  MAUDWhy, you're all over with paint! Just look at him, Mrs. Brown. Look at your face. You're like an Indian in war-paint. (carefully examining the front of her dress) I do hope you haven't got any of it on my dress.

  JOHN—No, you're as spotless as when you entered.

  MRS. BROWNHmYou haven't been working today, have you, John?Sunday?

  JOHNIt's the only day I have free for painting, Mother.

  MRS. BROWN—Weren't you afraid someone would come in and see youdressed like that? Why I do believe you haven't any socks on!

  JOHNThe people who call here don't judge you by your clothes.

  MAUDOh, Mrs. Brown, I think he looks so picturesquejust like the people you read about in the Paris Latin Quarter.

  MRS. BROWN—But on a Sunday!

  JOHNNonsense, Mother, this isn't Bridgetown.

  MAUD—(who is walking around looking at the paintings) Everything looks the same as the last time I was here: still the same shocking old pictures. (stops before the picture of an old hag) Oh! Is this one of yours? Isn't she horrid! How could you ever do it?

  JOHN—(brusquely) She really looked that way, you know. (abruptly changing the subject) But you haven't told me yet what happy chance brings you down here. (Maud sits down on the window-seat.)

  MRS. BROWN—Hm—, Edward came with us; he's going to call for us here.

  JOHN—(coldly) Oh, is he? But what are you down for—a shopping trip?

  MRS. BROWN—(nervously) Yes,—hm, of course we expect to do some shopping tomorrow before we—you know we're going back tomorrow night—hm—but I can hardly say—hm, shopping was not the—hm—(She becomes miserably confused and turns to Maud beseechingly.)

  MAUD—Perhaps I better tell him?

  MRS. BROWN—(immensely relieved) Yes, do.

  MAUD—Its a long story, John, and you must promise not to interrupt.

  JOHN—I promise.

  MAUD—Well, your mother has been terribly worried about you; and I've been worried to death about you, too.

  JOHN—(tenderly) Maudie!

  MAUD—Sssshhh! You promised not to interrupt. Your father, too—we've all been so afraid something had happened to you.

  JOHN—But my letters to you?

  MAUD—No interruptions, you promised. I thought maybe you were telling fibs in your letters just to keep me from worrying; and you were. You said you never felt better or more contented, and I could tell the moment I saw you that wasn't so. You look frightfully worn out and ill; doesn't he, Mrs. Brown?

  MRS. BROWN—He doesn't look at all well.

  JOHN—(impatiently) Its nothing. I've been troubled with insomnia, that's all.

  MAUD—Then you see you're not contented and you were telling fibs. Don't look so impatient! I'm coming to the rest of the story. Your mother was making herself ill wondering if you were starving with the army of the unemployed or something of that sort; and I was tearing my hair at the thought that you had fallen in love with some beautiful model and

  JOHNMaudie!

  MAUDYou know your letters have been getting fewer and fewer, and each one shorter than the last. I didn't know what to think.

  JOHNI couldn't write much. It was always the same old story. I didn't want to bore you with my disappointments. I was waiting for good news to tell you; then I'd have written a long letter, you can be sure of that. But what you said about modelsmost of them aren't beautiful, you knowyou don't believe anything like that?

  MAUDSilly boy! Of course I was only joking. Anyway, your mother and I made up this expeditionwith your father's permissiongot Edward to come with us, and hurried down to this wicked old cityto rescue you!

  JOHNTo rescue me!

  MAUDYes; you've just simply got to stop breaking people's hearts and homes. We're going to take you back to Bridgetown, a prisoner. (John walks up and down nervously.) Then we'll be able to keep an eye on you and see that you don't starve or get sick.

  JOHN(annoyed) Maudie!

  MAUDDad told me to tell you he had just the nicest position in the store for you; you can get off at least one afternoon a week if you care to keep up your painting. We can announce our wedding right away, and we'll be married in the fall or (looking at hire shyly) even sooner, if you like. I've picked out just the most adorable little house and Dad's agreed to give us that for a wedding present. (John is striding backward and forward his hands clenched tightly behind hire. He keeps his head lowered and does not look at Maud.) And your fatherhe has the dandiest surprise in store for you; only I'm not to tell you about it. Isn't it all fine? (John groans but does not answer her. Maud is troubled by his silence.) You'll come with us, won't you?

  JOHN—(brokenly) Maudie—you know—I can't.

  MAUD—(her lips trembling, her eyes filling with tears) You won't come!

  JOHN—I'd like to, dear; with all my heart and soul I want to do as you ask—I love you so much—you know that—but—Oh, don't you understand! you must realize in your heart—why I can't. (There is a long pause. Maud turns and stares down at the street below, winking back her tears.)

  MRS. BROWN—(wiping her eyes with her handkerchief) Don't decide so soon, Johnnie. Think over it. (with a desperate attempt to change the subject before the question is irrevocably decided) Have you seen Bessie lately?

  JOHN—Yes; today; just before you came. She stopped in with Babe.

  MRS. BROWN—She's well, I hope?

  JOHN—Never better, and just as happy as she can be. She and Babe are getting along in fine shape.

  MRS. BROWN—That's good news, I'm sure;—hm,—isn't it, Maud?

  MAUD—(coldly) I'm glad to hear it. (There is a knock at the door.)

  MRS. BROWN—That must be Edward.

  JOHN—(gruffly) Come in. (The door is opened and Edward enters. He seems less pompous and more self-assured than in Act I. In appearance he is practically unchanged. His clothes are a model of sober immaculateness.)

  EDWARD—Here you are, I see. (coldly) How are you, John? (They shake hands in a perfunctory manner. Edward casts a disapproving glance around the room. His eyes finally rest on john's paint-stained clothes. There is a trace of scorn in his manner.) I must say you look the part of the artist.

  JOHN—(with a sneer) I dare say. You can't paint and keep clean. I suppose it's much the same in politics.

  EDWARD—(stiffening) We will not discuss that. Are you still employed on the dock?

  JOHN—Yes.

  EDWARD—Have you sold any pictures yet?

  JOHN—No.

  EDWARD—Is it an artistic custom to work on Sunday?

  JOHN—We work when we please, whenever we have an opportunity. As I reminded Mother, you're in New York now, not Bridgetown. (Edward turns to his mother. She persistently avoids his eyes.)

  EDWARD—(after a long pause) Well, Mother, is the purpose of this visit fulfilled?

  MRS. BROWN—Hm—; yes—er—you might say,—hm; but no,—you'd hardly call it—

  EDWARD—(turns impatiently to Maud) Have you told him, Maud?

  MAUD—(dully) Yes.

  EDWARD—And he's coming with us, of course?

  MAUD—(with difficulty) No; he won't come. (She raises her handkerchief to her eyes and commences to cry softly.)

  JOHN—(starting to go to her) Maudie, please!

  EDWARD—(stopping him) Is this true?

  JOHN(defiantly) Quite true.

  EDWARD—Then all I have to say is, you are guilty of the most shameless ingratitude, not only to your own family, but particularly to Maud and her father. Every kindness has been lavished on you and this is the way you repay us.

  MRS. BROWN—Edward!

  EDWARD—Let me speak, Mother; it's time someone brought John to his senses. He has been riding rough-shod over all of us for years. Its my duty to show him the wreck he is making of his own life.

  JOHN—By all means do your duty, Mr. Alderman. Let me hear what you have to say.

  EDWARD—Did Maud tell you of her father's offer and of all that will be done for you?

  JOHN—Yes.

  EDWARD—You have sold no pictures and you have no hope of selling any.

  JOHN—Very little, at present.

  EDWARD—You still support yourself as a checker on the docks and only get twelve dollars a week?

  JOHN—Exactly.

  EDWARD—And you refuse to come back! Have you no heart? Can you see Maud weeping with the unhappiness you cause her by your selfish obstinacy and still refuse?

  MAUD—(starting to her feet, her eyes flashing) Edward! Don't bring—

  JOHN—(wildly excited) Yes, I can refuse, for Maud's sake most of all. Would you have me give up like a craven; be untrue to my highest hope; slink home a self-confessed failure? Would you have Maud married to such a moral coward? You, with your bread and butter viewpoint of life, probably can't appreciate such feelings but—

  EDWARD—There is no more to be said. I call upon you to witness, Mother, that I have done all in my power to persuade John to return.

  JOHN—Wait a minute; I begin to see things clearly. I begin to see through your canting pose about duty. Don't think you can fool me with your moral platitudes, your drivel about my ingratitude; for I think—no, by God, I'm sure,—you're only too glad I did refuse.

  EDWARD—(in great confusion) I? I protest, Mother,—

  MRS. BROWN AND MAUD—Johnnie! John!

  JOHN—Oh, he knows its the truth! Look at him!

  EDWARD—(growing red) Why should I be glad? It's of no importance to me—

  JOHN—Because right down in your heart you think my refusal will end things between Maud and me and give you another chance.

  MAUD—Oh, John, how can—(Mrs. Brown is beyond speech.)

  EDWARD—(summoning all his dignity) I will not deny that I want to see Maud happy.

  JOHN—(with a loud forced laugh) But you don't think she'll be happy with anyone but you! Well spoken, Mr. Platitude! It's the first real manly thing I've ever heard you say—the only time I've ever known you not to play the sanctimonious hypocrite.

  EDWARD—(raging) How dare you—

  MRS. BROWN—Do stop, Edward!

  MAUD—John, please—

  EDWARD—I will tell you this. I do not think you a fit husband for Maud; for I think I know the real reason for your refusal to come home; and Maud shall know it, too.

  JOHN—And what is this reason?

  EDWARD—You are mixed up with some woman down here and—

  JOHN—(white with fury) Liar! (He strikes Edward in the face with his fist almost knocking him down. Maud steps in between them. Mrs. Brown goes to Edward.)

  MRS. BROWN—Now, Edward, for my sake!

  MAUD—John, this is disgraceful—your own brother!

  EDWARD—All right, Mother, I forgive him for striking me, but I retract nothing. (He walks toward door.) Are you coming with me?

  MRS. BROWN—Yes, yes. Good 'bye Johnnie. I'll be in tomorrow before we go—hm—or you telephone to the hotel, will you?

  JOHN—Yes, Mother. (He kisses her. She joins Edward near the door.)

  EDWARD—Are you coming, Maud?

  MAUD—Yes.

  JOHN—Maudie!

  MAUD—Don't speak to me!

  JOHN—(in desperation) But you don't—you can't—believe what he said.

  MAUD—(with a sob) Oh, how can you act so! I don't know what to believe.

  JOHN—This is the end, then.

  MAUD—Yes. (She walks past him to the others at the door. They go out. John flings himself face downward on the divan near the piano. His shoulders shake as if he were sobbing. After about a minute the door is flung open and Maud rushes in. John starts up from the divan and she runs into his arms.)

  MAUD—(between sobs) You do care! You've been crying! Oh, please Johnnie dear, come back with us. Please if you love me. I do love you so much! Won't you please do this for my sake—just this once for my sake—I love you—I don't want you down here—I don't believe what Edward said—but still it might happen if you never saw me. If you love me, won't you please for my sake?

  JOHN—(slowly—his will broken) All right—I'll come back—for your sake.

  MAUD—Promise?

  JOHN—I promise. (He kisses her.)

  MAUD—Oh, I'm so glad. We're just going to be so happy, aren't we, dear? (John kisses her again.)

(The Curtain Falls)


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