Contents I II
sitting-room of John Brown's home in Bridgetown, a little before one
o'clock on a fine July day two years later. In the extreme left
foreground a door leading to the dining-room. Farther back a projecting
chimney papered over, and an open fire-place with black andirons. Above,
a mantle on which is a brass clock flanked by a china vase on either
end. Beyond the fireplace an arm chair stands stiffly against the
wall. Still farther back a door leading to the hall. The door is pushed
back against the far wall. Next to the door a chair, then a window
opening on the verandah, a long sofa, another window, and in the corner
a wicker-work rocking chair. On the right wall by the rocking chair a
window looking out on the street, a piano with a stool placed before it,
and a music stand piled with sheets of music. Finally in the extreme
right foreground another window with a round table in front and to the
left of it. On the table a lace center piece and a potted maidenhair
fern. The hardwood floor is almost completely hidden by a large rug. In
the center of the room a table with wicker-work rocking chairs around
it. On the table an electric reading-lamp wired from the chandelier, and
a Sunday newspaper. The windows are all lace-curtained. The walls are
papered in dark green. In startling incongruity with the general
commonplace aspect of the room are two paintings in the Impressionist
style, a landscape and a seascape, one of which hangs over the mantle
and the other over the piano.
The front door is heard opening and closing and Maud and Edward enter
from the hall. Her two years of married life have told on Maud. She is
still pretty but has faded, grown prim and hardened, has lines of
irritation about her eyes and mouth, and wears the air of one who has
been cheated in the game of life and knows it; but will even up the
scale by making those around her as wretched as possible. Her Sunday
gown is so gay and pretty she looks almost out of place in it. Edward,
too, has aged perceptibly, but his general appearance is practically the
same. He is dressed after his usual faultlessly-staid fashion.
good of you to walk home with
me. You must sit down for a while. It's been ages since we've had a talk
together. (She sits down by the table.)
a chair near the table) Thank
you, I will; but only for a moment.
can you rush off so after all the time it's been since you were here
before! You aren't very considerate of your friends.
You know, Maud, you would never have to complain of me in that respect
were it not for John's bitter dislike,—I
might more truthfully call it hatred. He would surely misinterpret my
visits; as he did when he practically put me out of this house six
face hardening) I
told John at that time, and I tell you now, Edward, this is my house and
my friends are always welcome in it.
course, Maud, of course; but then I like to avoid all such
your sake, especially.
little more or less wouldn't make much difference; but let's not talk of
that. Why, I haven't even congratulated you yet, Mr. Congressman!
with pleasure) Oh, nothing's
Of course I will take the nomination if it's offered to me,—as
I'm quite sure it will be; but getting elected is another matter.
can you have any doubts after your wonderful victory in the election for
Mayor last fall? The biggest majority they ever gave anyone in the
history of the town, wasn't it?
yes, but this is entirely different,—the
whole district, you see; and in some parts of it I'm hardly known at
know you'll be elected, so
there! (Edward smiles but shakes his head.) Will you
make a bet? A pair of gloves against a box of cigars,—real
cigars; you can pick them out yourself. You're afraid! I won't tell on
you for gambling.
now, Maud, what difference does—
won't have to buy any gloves then. What will come after the Congressman?
Will it be governor or senator?
pleased, bows to her smilingly) You are
altogether too flattering, my dear Maud.
becoming melancholy) Oh, it must be fine to
keep going upward step by step and getting somewhere, instead of
sticking in one place all the time without hope of advancement. You are
known all over the state now and you'll soon be going to Washington, and
knows? While to us, Bridgetown is the whole world. Promise you won't
forget all about us when you leave?
You know I could never forget you, Maud.
you go to Washington—
haven't got there yet.
you will. Then you'll forget all us poor, unhappy small-town people.
you are not happy. It shows in all your actions. Has John—
Where is he now?
Is he sick?
People who don't come in until three in the morning usually are.
don't mean to say he doesn't—
it's only on Saturday nights when he goes to the club to meet Harry and
the other town sports.
man at the club was speaking to me about this; said I'd better give John
a word of advice. Of course he didn't know of our—er—strained
relations. He said John was drinking altogether too much,—getting
to be a regular thing with him.
couldn't know about that. John only goes to the club on Saturday nights;
but he drinks quite a lot here at home.
don't you speak to him?
have; but he only laughs, and then we have another quarrel. That's all
fight, fight. He says he drinks to give life a false interest since it
has no real one.
say that to you! How can you stand it?
don't stand it. My patience is worn out. When he is with me I can't
restrain myself. I fight; and he fights back; and there you are.
bad, too bad! Such a shocking state of affairs,
for you above all people; your home life with your father was always so
you haven't heard the worst of it. Do you know, I even heard that John
was associating with those low friends of Harry's,—women,
at him searchingly)
You have heard something of
this; tell me truthfully, haven't you?
Oh, mere rumors; you know what the town is.
a pause) I cannot tell how it grieves me to see you in this state. I
always had fears that John would fail in his duties as a husband. He has
no stability, no—er—will
power, as you might say. But to insult you in this gross manner is
you no advice to give me?
say you have urged him to reform his mode of living and he refuses? That
you are continually quarrelling? That all these reports of—er—women
keep coming to you.
yes, I hear all sorts of things.
where there's so much smoke, you know—
what shall I do?
an air of decision)
I advise you to sue for a
You, Edward, you think I ought—
know it's quite against my principles. I have always held divorce to be
the greatest evil of modern times and a grave danger to the social life
of the nation; but there are cases—and
yours is one of them—where
there seems to be no other solution. Therefore I repeat, I advise you to
free yourself from one who has proved himself so unworthy; and you know
I have your interests at heart when I say it.
I can't; it's impossible.
You have no children.
would have the sympathy of everyone. (a pause)
couldn't do it.
you no longer care for him after—all
you've told me.
I don't know!
me if the question I am about to ask seems indelicate. It is to your
interest to face facts. Are you still living with him—as
you know I couldn't! How could you think so—after
why do you hesitate? Is it for his sake?
Indeed not! He'd be only too glad to get rid of me. He'd be married
again in a week,—to
that horrible, divorced Mrs. Harper or some other of those rich summer
people who are always inviting him to their houses and who think he's so
fascinating. No, I'll not play into his hands by getting a divorce; you
can say what you like.
up and goes over
beside her chair) Think
of yourself, Maud. You are making yourself sick both in mind and body by
remaining in such distressing environment. (He
takes one of her hands.
She makes no effort to withdraw it.) Listen
to me, Maud. I love you, as you know. I have always loved you ever since
I can remember having loved anyone. Let me take care of your future. Do
as I have advised and I will protect you from everything that could
possibly hurt you. I ask nothing for myself. My love for you has always
been an unselfish one. I only want to see you happy, and to do all in my
power to make you so. If, in after years, you could come to love me ever
would be free—with
such a hope my life would be—
face averted) Don't, don't,
I can't bear it.
you promise to consider what I have suggested?
(John appears in the
doorway. He has evidently just risen for he is collarless, unshaven, and
has on a faded bathrobe and bedroom slippers. He has grown stout and
his face is flabby and pasty-complected, his eyes dull and lusterless.
He watches his wife and brother with a cynical smile.)
the bottom of my heart I thank you. (He
raises Maud's hand to his lips.)
shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." (Maud
Edward straightens up with a jerk,
his face crimson.) You seem
to be forgetting the Lord's commandments on his own day, my worthy
deacon. (Edward stutters
in confusion.) Never try to make love, Edward. You look a fearful
ass; and remember Maud is expressly forbidden to covet such animals in
that same commandment. Sorry to disturb you. I'll cough the next time. (He
turns around and goes out.)
you see what he's like.
must go before he comes back—the
really can't contain myself; I wouldn't be responsible—(He
goes to door, then stops
and turns to Maud.) Good 'bye;
you won't forget your promise, Maud?
won't forget. (Edward goes
out. The outer door slams and he can be
seen walking past the windows. Maud throws herself on the sofa
and lies sobbing with her
face buried in the pillows. John enters.)
the Passionate Pilgrim gone? (He sits
down by the table.) Why all
this fuss? You know I was only joking. I just wanted to take some of the
moral starch out of that pompous ass. (He takes
up the newspaper and starts to
read. It trembles in his shaking hand with
an irritating rustling sound. Maud
glances sharply at him with keen
dislike in her eyes, opens her
lips as if to say something,
checks herself, taps the floor
nervously with her foot,
finally bursts out)
nice time to be lying around in that state! Don't you know it's Sunday? (She
pulls down shades of windows open on veranda.)
least you might put on a collar and shave yourself.
might; but I'm not going to. What's the matter? Do you expect other
never know who might come in on a Sunday.
up the attempt to read by putting down his
paper, speaks with nervous irritation)
But I know who won't come in—anyone
of the slightest interest to me. If anyone comes I'll run and hide and
you can tell them I'm out. They'll all be glad to hear it. Say I haven't
come back from church yet; that ought to be scandal enough for one day.
mock at everything decent. However they all know where you are when
you're out. You aren't fooling anybody and you needn't think you are.
rising anger) In
forget, my dear, this is the Sabbath and all such dens of iniquity are
closed by law of our God-fearing legislature—the
front doors at least.
you'd be up at the club with your drunken friends.
I would be; and I soon will be if you don't give up this constant
come home at a decent hour. Act like a respectable man should and there
won't be any nagging.
couldn't keep that promise. You've got the habit. You'd pick on me for
something else. My drinking is only an excuse. There are plenty of
so-called respectable citizens who drink more than I do; and you ought
to know it if your gossiping friends ever air their malicious scandal
about anyone but me.
have heard of one other.
There is hope then.
open about what he does and makes no pretence of being a saint. He's a
lot better than those psalm-singing hypocrites of whom my respected
brother Edward is the leader.
is a gentleman.
is a fool and (as she
to retort) we will talk no
more about him. I feel bad enough already without having to sit and
listen while you din the praises of that pompous nincompoop into my
ears. (He picks up the
paper again and
goes through it hurriedly; finally finds page and begins reading.
His hand shakes more than ever and the paper rustles until Maud turns to
goodness sake, don't rustle that paper so.
excitement of quarrelling with my sweet wife has unnerved me.
night unnerved you, you mean. Why didn't you
phone you weren't coming home to dinner? You knew I would wait.
told you never to wait after seven. Why will you persist in doing so and
then blame me for it.
must think I like to eat alone.
very rarely fail to get here.
were at the club, I suppose? You always say that.
where would I be?
needn't look so innocent. I've heard things.
always do. What things?
you had any breakfast yet?
breakfast! What is it you've heard this time from your select circle of
the towns finest?
say you don't always spend your evenings at the club; that you've been
seen with some of those low women Harry associates with.
you allow them to say such things?
told them there couldn't be any truth in such stories.
JOHN— (ironically) I thank you for your trust in me. I expected you to say you did believe
don't know what to believe. When a person drinks so much they're liable
to do anything.
all nonsense, Maud.
that trip of yours to New York last month when you went to see Bessie
and said she wasn't there.
she wasn't; she and Babe were out of town.
said they saw you down there with some woman.
for God's sake, Maud! (He
gets up and strides nervously around the room. A knocking is heard from
the rear of the house.)
someone at the back door; and Annie's out, of course. (She hurries out through the door to hall. John looks around furtively
for a moment; then walks to dining-room door and goes in. He returns a
moment later with a syphon of seltzer and a bottle of whiskey, and
placing them on the table, mixes himself a drink. Maud comes back as be
is drinking. She stands watching him with an expression of disgust.)
you leave that horrible stuff alone for a moment?
Just a little pick-me-up.
into a chair) It's terrible.
take everything with such deadly seriousness. Plenty of men take a
cocktail before breakfast.
don't know what will happen to us if you keep on this way.
forget, my dear, your tongue is calculated to drive anyone to drink; and
things aren't as bad as you'd like to pretend. I see lots of people more
unfortunate than you. Every little thing that happens you weep and wail
as if the world were coming to an end. Why, in God's name, did you ever
I could have seen how things would be I'd never—
I; I gave up a career for you; and you gave up the righteous citizen
Edward for me. We were both very foolish.
by this mention of Edward) Yes,
Edward loved me, and in spite of all your superior sneers he's a better
man than you are. All the town looks up to him. He got more votes for
Mayor than anyone ever did before. That ought to convince anyone but you
what people think of him; and everyone knows he's sure of going to
don't know which to sympathize with—Congress
That's right; sneer! Sneer at everything and everyone; all failures do
that. Yes, failure! I said it and I mean it. If it wasn't for my father
we wouldn't even have this house; and if you weren't my husband, you
couldn't keep your position in the store a single day longer. Father
told me that himself. He said you weren't worth a bit more to the
business now than the day you came in. He said you took absolutely no
interest in it at all.
why do you stay in it? (John shrugs
his shoulders but does not answer. He is very pale.) Because
you know you'd never get a job anywhere else. You might at least be
grateful to him for what he's done for you; but instead all you
do is sneer at him and his business. You pretend to be too artistic to
lower yourself to make money; but I see through your high-art pose. You
never made a success of that either. Oh, I don't know how I stand it.
to her quickly) Ah, now you ask the leading question. Why do you stand it?
do you mean?
this: You've stated the truth. Our life together is impossible and the
sooner we recognize that fact and do what we can to rectify it, the
better for both of us. We're young and life may still hold something
pleasant if we've only the courage to break our chains. When nothing is
left of the old love but wrangling and distrust, it's high time for us
to give up this farce of life together.
Let's be frank. You hate me and I confess I—but
no matter. Such being the undeniable case, is there any reason in God's
world why we should be confined together like two cats in a bag? Get a
divorce! I'll gladly give you all the evidence you need.
don't doubt that for a moment.
Edward is still a bachelor. I'm sure he'd provide balm for your woes,
even if his political career suffered from his marrying a divorced
woman. I give him credit for being red-blooded in that one respect at
least. (a pause during
which Maud bites her lips in nervous anger) Hasn't
he spoken to you about a divorce in your conferences together?
why should I deny it? He has spoken of it, and I absolutely refused to
why, if I may ask?
I will never get a divorce; you
can't see why you want to live with me.
Well, I haven't your loose
morals. I was brought up to regard marriage as a sacred thing; not as
something to be thrown aside as soon as one gets tired of it. If I were
to get a divorce, think of the scandal, think of what people would say.
if one cared!
I do care and I won't do it. Do you think I don't know what's behind
your talk? You want to get rid of me so you'll have a chance to run
after your Mrs. Harpers, your artists models, and creatures of that
sort. I tell you right now I'll never give you the chance. Disgrace
yourself, if you will, but don't ask me to make your path easy.
Then let's say no more about it.
takes up the paper.
Maud fumes and bites her lips. Suddenly
John's eye catches an item
in the paper and he gives an
exclamation of excitement.)
Here, listen to this. You knew
Babe Carter well in the old days. This is a criticism of the paintings
at the Independent Exhibition. It says:
"Mr. Carter is without
doubt one of the most promising of the younger school. His work is
steadily increasing in worth, and some of his seascapes, notably `The
Coral Reef', deserve to rank among the best painted in recent years by
any American." (putting down the paper, his face glowing
with enthusiasm) Great work! Good
old Babe! What do you think of that, Maud? Won't Bessie be tickled to
death when she reads that.
she's still living with him?
course she is. They're as much in love now as the day they were married.
What made you think any differently?
of that sort don't last long, generally.
of what sort?
of that kind.
kind? I don't know what you're talking about. If ever two people were
absolutely fitted for each other, Babe and Bess are.
I don't mean that.
do you mean?
They say he was forced to marry her on account of their previous
understanding for a second; then springing
to his feet
in a furious
rage and standing over her, his fists clenched) How dare you repeat such a damnable lie! How dare you—
away from him) That's right; strike me! It only remains for you to do that.
himself) Strike you? Are you
crazy? Bah! Such pitiful slanders are beneath notice. I'm surprised that
who pretend to be her friend, should repeat such calumnies. You're
letting your temper carry you beyond all bounds.
never approved of her meeting Carter in secret.
you know there's no truth in what you said as well as—(He
is interrupted by a ring
of the door-bell.)
MAUD—There! I knew someone would come; and here you are in that dirty bath-robe
and not even shaved. (She
goes cautiously to the window and peeks out.) I think—(in
tones of great astonishment) Yes,
it's Bessie. What can she be doing here?
Well, why doesn't someone go to the door?
told you Annie was out. (The
bell rings again.)
I'll go and, remember, I won't allow her to be insulted by you or anyone
refuse to see her. (She
goes out by the door to the dining-room. John strides into the hallway
and opens the front
Bessie." Their voices
can be heard exchanging greetings. A moment later Bessie enters with
John. What little change she has undergone has been decidedly for the
better. An atmosphere of hope fulfilled and happiness attained, which is
like an affront to John in his state of nervous melancholia, springs
from her person. John feels it and glances with sudden shame at the
bottle on the table.)
forced to lie) Oh, out somewhere, church or someplace. (He slouches miserably into his chair.)
she's not here. How is she?
him a searching glance—quietly)
I'm all right, I suppose. (a pause—suddenly
he breaks out with
What rot! Why should I lie and keep up this pretence to you? I can at
least be frank with you. Nothing is all right. Everything about me has
degenerated since you saw me last. My family life is unbearable. Maud
hates me and I—So much for
the soothing atmosphere of our home.
sure it isn't just an attack of Sabbath blues.
wish it were. The truth is Maud and I have become
disillusioned. I know there's nothing so out of the ordinary in that.
Most married couples I have no doubt, go through the same thing. The
trouble with us is we've gone to the bitter end. There are no veils left
to tear off. We're two corpses chained together.
too bad. I always thought your marriage would prove a disappointment but
I never dreamed it would be as bad as this. I hoped you'd finally grow
used to each other and compromise. (after a pause—musingly)
The pity of it is, you're neither of you really to blame. It's simply
the conflict of character. You'll grind together until both are worn
right; Death is the only cure for this marriage.
forget my wife is a good member of the church. She has principles. She
remembers the sacred duty of every God-fearing wife toward her husband—to
make him as miserable as possible. She hates me, but she'll not forego
her ownership, her power to strangle what little aspiration I have left,
simply because she's afraid some other woman might claim me.
she can't have become the terrible creature you describe. You have no
yet you say she refuses to get a divorce?
we had it all out before you came. She absolutely refused to consider
it; and for the exact reason I've told you—because,
although she doesn't want me, she's determined no other woman shall get
me. So you see I didn't exaggerate. I've put the case mildly. There's no
way out. (with bitter irony)
She's such a good woman I could never hope to get a divorce from her.
not run away? I think she'd soon grow more reasonable if she felt she'd
mistake. That would be just what she desires. As the abandoned wife, the
martyr, she would glory in the sympathy of the whole town. It would be
too dear a pose for her ever willingly to relinquish. (He
stares moodily before him. Bessie looks at him with pitying
surprise as if in her
state of happiness she could conceive of his misfortune only as
something vague and incredible.) Besides
there are other reasons. I have no money. Manna no longer falls from
heaven. How would I live? I only keep my present position, as Maud
constantly reminds me, because I'm Steele's son-in-law. As a wage-earner
I'm a colossal failure. You know the struggle I had to keep alive when
my allowance was withdrawn. It would be a million times worse now. (despondently)
As I said before there's no way out
Have you done any painting lately?
at all. I used to go out on Sundays when I first came up, and do a
ought to have kept up your drawing, at least; especially after Colper's
Weekly accepted those things of yours.
you remember me telling you I received their check the day before I was
married? Oh, if I'd only had the courage to turn back then! They asked
me if I cared to do some illustrating for them,—and
I never answered their letter. You see I was determined for Maud's sake
to put the old life completely behind me.
your letters were always so enthusiastic—
I've lied to you and the rest of the world until I guess noone doubts
I'm the happiest married man on earth. Why, I've lied even to myself and
shut my eyes to the truth. The struggle to appear happy has worn me out.
I used to paint a bit, but Maud didn't want me to leave her alone and
was bored if she came with me, and I slid deeper and deeper into the rut
and gave up altogether. (He sighs.) Just plain degeneration, you see.
to the bottle on the
table with frank disgust)
Don't you think that may be to blame for this degenerating?
JOHN— (indifferently) Oh, I
thought you never—
until lately. So you can see it isn't the cause but the result of my
degeneration. It makes me callous and lets me laugh at my own futility.
That's about the best I can hope for.
to guide the conversation into more pleasant
channels) Speaking about painting, I suppose you've heard about
I haven't heard from Steve in a long time.
know he went to Paris. Well,
he's been very successful over there—painting
in the Salon and I don't know what else. Babe received a letter from him
about two weeks ago, and he wants Babe to come over; and the best part
of it is we're going. Babe had a streak of unheard-of luck last month
and sold three of his paintings. We figure that with this money and what
we've saved we ought to be able to remain there a year. Just think of it—a
year in Paris! Of course, we'll have to practice the strictest economy,
but then we're used to that. We're going to leave within two weeks at
the latest. That's why I came up. I wanted to
see you and say good
'bye to the folks before we
left. Isn't it fine?
his best to share in her enthusiasm in spite of the distressing contrast
in their fortunes) I'm awful glad to
hear it, Bess. There's noone in
the world I'd rather see happy than you and Babe. (He turns away to
hide his emotion.)
that something is wrong—with
a sudden intuition runs to him and throws her arms around him) What
a beast I am! Flaunting our measly success in your face as if I were
trying to torment you!
my damn peevishness. I guess I've got an attack of what you called
"Sabbath blues" after all.
why don't you come with us? You can raise enough money for that. It'll
give you a new start. Never mind what anyone thinks. You can come back
and square it all later on. It's a shame to see you going to seed in
this beastly old town.
a pause firmly) No. It would only add one more failure to the list.
I have no more confidence in myself. The incentive is gone. Besides you
and Babe are just becoming reconciled with the family. They would never
forgive you if I went away with you.
yes it does matter; or it will later on. I just simply can't go. Let's
not talk of it. (Bessie goes slowly over and sits down again.)
What do you hear from Ted?
dramatic critic on a Chicago newspaper, does lots of magazine work, too.
He's the same old Ted though and heaven only knows how long he'll stand
prosperity. Haven't you seen any of his stuff?
rarely read any more, magazines or anything else.
you hear from any of the old crowd at all?
used to write but I never had anything to tell them but my failures so I
was too ashamed to answer. (Bessie can find nothing to say—a pause.) I saw that notice about Babe in today's Times.
you seen it? (He finds the item and hands it
to her.) Here.
It's the best write-up I've ever seen them give anyone.
the notice, tries to
hide her exultation, and contents herself with saying as she lays down the paper)
Very nice of them.
They've all come to the top but me. What would Grammont say if he were
talk like an old man,—as
if life were over and done with.
weary of his gloom)
Oh, cheer up! Come out and get the air. Take a walk over to the house
with me. By the way, how is everybody?
haven't changed a bit, unfortunately. Harry is more human than he used
to be, and Edward less human, and Mary more prim; but the changes are
gather from mother's letters Edward is now the hope of the town.
he's going to run for Congress.
dear! And I suppose I'll have to kiss him.
a faint smile) He'll
deem it your patriotic duty. (Bessie
I must go.
over tomorrow night. You'll be here, won't you?
stay a couple of days if I can stand it. Come on
and walk over with me. You're bad company for yourself today.
I'm not shaved or anything else. I'll drop over tonight. I don't feel
equal to a dose of Edward's platitudes this afternoon. (Bessie walks into
the hall followed
by John. Their voices can
be heard saying
"Goodbye for the present" etc.
The door is heard closing
and john comes
back into the room.
to the table and picks up the
bottle as if to pour out a
drink; then puts it down again
with an exclamation of
disgust. He sits down in the chair,
his head in his hands,
a picture of despondency. Maud enters from the dining room. Her face is
twisted with the rage she is holding back only by the most violent
lunch is ready. What made her leave so soon?
hasn't seen the folks yet. She had to go there.
all dressed up. Carter must be making money. (John
is silent. Maud continues trying to conceal her anger.) So they're
going to Paris?
I might have known it.
you'd been listening. I hope you're satisfied with what you heard.
Listeners, you know, never hear good of themselves.
control of herself)
Yes, I listened, you—you—you
talk that way about me—about
your wife— I heard you—
You said I hated you—
Well, I do hate you!—sponging
on my father—you
her you wanted to get rid of me—make
fun of me to an outsider— What
is she I'd like to know—the
things I've heard about her—married
to poverty-stricken artist who's no good— "Come
to Paris with us"— Nice
advice to give to a married man— And
you— Have you no
respect for anything?
pale, a wild look of despair
in his eyes)
Maud! Stop! Won't you please let me alone for a while.
in her fury;
her words jumbled out between gasps)
You loafer you!—
I couldn't believe my ears—you,
to do such a thing—She'll
tell everybody— She'll
laugh at us—and
I'll be to blame— She'll
see to that— She won't
I'll surprise her— I'll
tell your family about her—
to Paris with us"—
I'll tell father, too—
some things about her—
won't get any divorce—not
as long as I live—to
throw me aside like an old rag—you
go and live with some low woman of the streets—
not low enough for you—
know what a good woman is—
been a fool—
always defended her—
wouldn't believe what they said—and
this is the thanks I get—asking
you to abandon your wife! But I believe their stories now—
I know what she is—
She's a bad woman—
She lived with Carter before—
face livid with rage,
springs at her and clutches her by the throat) You
of a woman! (Maud pulls at
his arms with her hands, her scream strangled into a shrill wheeze. John
realizes what he is doing and pushes her from him. She falls to the
floor and lies there sobbing convulsively. John looks around him wildly
as if he were seeking some place of escape.)
God, there's an end to everything! (He
rushes out of the door to hall and can be heard running up the stairs.
Then for an instant a great silence broods over the house. It is broken
by the muffled report of a revolver sounding from the floor above. Some
thing falls heavily in the room overhead. Maud springs to her feet and
stands in a tense attitude, listening. Then a look of horrified
comprehension passes over her face and, shrieking with terror, she
rushes to the hall, and a moment later can be seen running past the
front windows, her hair disheveled, her hands pressed over her ears. Her
screams grow gradually fainter.)