HER OWN WAY
Her Own Way
A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NEW YORK MCMVII LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.
COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1907.
All acting rights, both professional and amateur, are reserved by Clyde Fitch. Performances forbidden and right of representation reserved. Application for the right of performing this piece must be made to The Macmillan Company. Any piracy or infringement will be prosecuted in accordance with the penalties provided by the United States Statutes:—
"SEC. 4966.—Any person publicly performing or representing any dramatic or musical composition, for which copyright has been obtained, without the consent of the proprietor of the said dramatic or musical composition, or his heirs or assigns, shall be liable for damages therefor, such damages in all cases to be assessed at such sum, not less than one hundred dollars for the first and fifty dollars for every subsequent performance, as to the Court shall appear to be just. If the unlawful performance and representation be wilful and for profit, such person or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year."—U.S. REVISED STATUTES, Title 60, Chap. 3.
Norwood Press J.S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
Transcriber's Note: various printer's errors—typos and missing punctuation—were corrected for this e-book.
TO MAXINE ELLIOTT AND EVERYTHING IS SAID! C.F. 1907
HER OWN WAY
ACT I. THE PLAYROOM.
Ten days elapse.
ACT II. THE DRAWING-ROOM.
Eight months elapse.
ACT III. GEORGIANA'S ROOM.
Four weeks elapse.
ACT IV. THE DRAWING-ROOM.
THE PEOPLE IN THE PLAY
GEORGIANA CARLEY. MRS. CARLEY Her step-mother. MRS. STEVEN CARLEY Her sister-in-law, born "Coast," and daughter of Mrs. Carley by a former marriage. PHILIP } CHRISTOPHER } Children of Mr. and Mrs. Steven Carley. TOOTS } ELAINE From next door. LIZZIE Mrs. Carley's maid. MISS BELLA SHINDLE "The Lady Hair-dresser." LIEUTENANT RICHARD COLEMAN. SAM COAST Louise Carley's own cousin. STEVEN CARLEY Georgiana's brother. MOLES Butler to the Carleys. A FOOTMAN At the Carleys.
Produced at the Star Theatre, Buffalo, September 24, 1903, and on September 28, 1903, at the Garrick Theatre, New York, with the following cast:—
Georgiana Carley Miss Maxine Elliott Mrs. Carley Miss Eva Vincent Mrs. Steven Carley Miss Nellie Thorne Philip Master Donald Gallaher Christopher Miss Beryl Morse Toots Miss Mollie King Elaine Miss Marie Hirsch Lizzie Miss Susanne Perry Miss Bella Shindle Miss Georgie Lawrence Lieutenant Richard Coleman Mr. Charles Cherry Sam Coast Mr. Arthur Byron Steven Carley Mr. R.C. Herz Moles Mr. Francklyn Hurleigh Footman Mr. B.M. Parmenter
Produced at the Lyric Theatre, London, in May, 1905, and afterward at the Savoy Theatre, London, with the following cast:—
Georgiana Carley Miss Maxine Elliott Mrs. Carley Mrs. Fanny Addison Pitt Mrs. Steven Carley Miss Nellie Thorne Philip Master Donald Gallaher Christopher Miss Beryl Morse Toots Miss Mollie King Elaine Miss Marie Hirsch Lizzie Miss Susanne Perry Miss Bella Shindle Miss Georgie Lawrence Lieutenant Richard Coleman Mr. Charles Cherry Sam Coast Mr. James Carew Steven Carley Mr. R.C. Herz Moles Mr. Francklyn Hurleigh Footman Mr. B.M. Parmenter
The nursery. Half-past two in the afternoon. A cool, delightful white room, with a frieze of children playing in the ocean spray; shelves of bright-colored books on the walls, and the months of a large calendar by Elizabeth Shippen Green framed underneath. There is a deep bow-window at the back; the principal door is at the Left, and a smaller one on the Right. Toys of all sizes, for all ages, are scattered about with a holiday air. There is a sofa on the Right and a hobby horse on the Left.
There are four charming though somewhat spoiled children, with intermittent manners, with napkins tied up under their chins, sitting around the table, which is a little to the right of the centre of the room.
The FOOTMAN is busy removing the plates; the butler, MOLES, who stands behind PHILIP, always takes PHILIP'S plate. It is PHILIP'S birthday. LIZZIE stands behind ELAINE. In the centre of the table is a large cake with seven candles burning on it.
PHILIP. What comes next?
[LIZZIE and MOLES suppress smiles, exchanging looks of delighted appreciation of CHRISTOPHER'S humor.
TOOTS. Ice cream!
ELAINE. Don't be absurd, Christopher, we've had soup.
CHRISTOPHER. I like it!
TOOTS. I like ice cream!
ELAINE. [To TOOTS.] Sh!
PHILIP. What comes next, Moles?
MOLES. I don't know, sir.
[He goes out.
ELAINE. T'ain't manners to ask, anyway, Phil.
PHILIP. Who cares! It's my birthday!
CHRISTOPHER. When will it be my birthday?
[The FOOTMAN reenters with plates, followed by MOLES, with silver dish of croquettes.
PHILIP. Here it comes; what is it?
MOLES. Chicken croquettes, sir.
PHILIP. Left overs! Had chicken yesterday! Bring 'em here first!
MOLES. No, ladies first, sir.
LIZZIE. And besides, Miss Elaine is company.
[MOLES serves CHRISTOPHER.
PHILIP. That's all right. S'long it's Elaine, everything goes!
[Sliding down from her chair, she runs to him and kisses him.
PHILIP. [Hopelessly embarrassed.] Don't! not in front of everybody!
ELAINE. But I do love you, Phil, and you're my beau, and I'm so glad it's your birthday.
[Goes back to her place unashamed and contented.
[MOLES serves PHILIP.
LIZZIE. You oughtn't to talk about beaux at your age, Miss—ought Miss Elaine?
[To MOLES with a knowing glance.
MOLES. I ain't discussing the sex with you, Lizzie, but I will say all the girls I've known, began talking about beaux early and ended late.
CHRISTOPHER. I heard Lizzie and Moles talking about Aunt Georgiana's beau!
[FOOTMAN goes out with the croquette dish.
ELAINE. Mr. Dick Coleman's Miss Carley's beau!
PHILIP. No, he isn't! Mr. Dick's known Aunt Georgiana always, they're just little boy and girl friends. Lizzie says she's Cousin Sammy Coast's sweetheart.
LIZZIE. [Indignant, though convulsed.] I never did!
PHILIP. Yes, you did! To Maggie when you thought I wasn't paying attention.
[LIZZIE and MOLES exchange amused glances.
ELAINE. But Mr. Coast's your auntie's cousin; and your cousin can't be your beau.
PHILIP. He ain't any relation to Auntie Georgiana. Mamma said so. Mr. Coast's mamma's cousin, and grandma's nephew, but grandma isn't any real relation to auntie.
PHILIP. I don't know how, only Aunt Georgiana had a different mamma, she didn't have grandma.
ELAINE. And the same papa!
PHILIP. Not all the time, mamma had another papa first.
CHRISTOPHER. It's sort of mixy, isn't it?
PHILIP. Yes, I guess mamma and Aunt Georgy are sort of divorced sisters!
[As if that explained it.
TOOTS. [Beating the table.] Lemmlelade! lemmlelade!
[MOLES crosses to pitcher and serves TOOTS first, then the others.
PHILIP. Toots, you're getting tipsy!
[The children laugh.
CHRISTOPHER. Cousin Sammy comes to see Aunt Georgiana nearly every day.
PHILIP. Yes—he's begun to bring toys just like some of the others did.
CHRISTOPHER. [With his mouth full.] Hobby horse! Hobby horse!
[Pointing to the hobby horse.
LIZZIE. Don't talk with your mouth full, Mr. Christopher.
PHILIP. [Shouting.] He'll choke! He'll choke!
[All laugh, tremendously amused.
MOLES. Mr. Coast is a very fine gentleman.
PHILIP. Oh, I know! I saw him give you a dollar the other day, when he came to see auntie, and you advised his waiting and said auntie'd be in by five.
LIZZIE. Isn't he a case!
MOLES. He certainly is.
[Returns pitcher to table on the Left.
CHRISTOPHER. I like Mr. Dick best. He's always taking us places and things.
TOOTS. [Who has finished his croquette and is now ready for conversation.] Um! Circus!
PHILIP. And not just 'cause he's stuck on auntie.
MOLES. You oughtn't to use that expression, Mr. Philip.
PHILIP. Why not! you do. I heard you tell Lizzie you were stuck on her last Sunday.
LIZZIE. [Blushing.] Oh, my!
CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Dick's a soldier!
PHILIP. Yes, siree! He helped stop a strike of street cars in Brooklyn. His name was in the papers!
CHRISTOPHER. He was hurted bad, and if he was dead, he'd have a monnyment with "Hero" embroidered on it. Aunt Georgiana said so!
ELAINE. I should think Miss Georgiana was too old, anyway, to have beaux.
CHRISTOPHER. Oh, awful old!
LIZZIE. Oh! Miss Carley isn't so old!
PHILIP. Yes, she is, too! She's our old maid aunt.
ELAINE. If she wasn't old, she'd be married. It must be awful to be so old.
PHILIP. She's nearly thirty, I guess.
ALL THE CHILDREN. Oh!
[Loud and long.
CHRISTOPHER. You'll be deader soon after thirty, won't you?
TOOTS. [Crying.] I don't want Auntie Georgiana to be a deader!
PHILIP. [Bored.] Shut up!
LIZZIE. [Comes to TOOTS and comforts him.] Toots, dear!
PHILIP. I'm glad Aunt Georgiana's an old maid, 'cause I don't want her to leave us.
[FOOTMAN enters and stands at the Right.]
She gave me my birthday party.
MOLES. Yes, and this whole house'd miss your aunt, I can tell you that, Mr. Philip. [Takes away the plates.] She just keeps things going smooth with everybody.
PHILIP. I told her I saw you kiss Lizzie on the back stairs, Saturday.
[Gives dishes to the FOOTMAN.
LIZZIE. He didn't! He didn't!
PHILIP. Yes, that's what Aunt Georgiana said, but I know better, and so does she, I guess!
LIZZIE. Isn't he a case!
[MOLES goes out with the FOOTMAN.
PHILIP. Now what?
PHILIP. Ice cream! I want ice cream!
ELAINE. My mamma don't let my brothers behave so at the table.
PHILIP. Neither don't we, 'cept our birthdays.
[MOLES reenters with a tray and plates.
CHRISTOPHER. What is it?
PHILIP. [Screams.] Eeh! Ice cream! It's ice cream!
PHILIP. Go ahead, dish it out!
[MOLES serves ice cream to ELAINE, then to PHILIP, TOOTS, and CHRISTOPHER.
CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Dick Coleman is gooder as Cousin Sammy Coast.
ELAINE. Aunt Georgiana is goodest as him!
CHRISTOPHER. Aunt Georgiana is gooder as mamma!
TOOTS. And most goodest as grandma.
[LIZZIE exchanges a glance with MOLES and goes out Right.
PHILIP. Grandma! Rats!
MOLES. [To PHILIP.] Sh!
PHILIP. [Shouts.] Stop, Chris! He's taking too much ice cream!
ALL THE CHILDREN. Chris! Chris!
[They keep up the clamor, laughing and shouting, till LIZZIE comes back.
LIZZIE. Children! here comes grandma.
PHILIP. [Disgusted.] Oh, pshaw!
CHRISTOPHER. Don't want grandma.
[MRS. CARLEY comes in from the Right. She is a middle-aged woman, of faded prettiness and frivolous manner. Every line and bit of character has been massaged out of her face. There is a sudden, embarrassed, and gloomy silence on the part of the children.
MRS. CARLEY. Well, children, having a lovely party?
PHILIP. [Grudgingly.] Yes, ma'am!
ELAINE. [Politely.] Yes, ma'am.
CHRISTOPHER. Aunt Georgiana's party!
MRS. CARLEY. Yes, dear, it's too bad mamma is ill in bed. She says when you are all through, you may come up and say how do you do, while she kisses Phil. [Silence.] That will be nice, won't it?
PHILIP. [Grudgingly.] Yes, ma'am.
ELAINE. Yes, ma'am.
CHRISTOPHER. Yes, ma'am.
MRS. CARLEY. We are glad you could come in, Elaine, and help celebrate Philip's birthday.
ELAINE. Thank you, ma'am!
[TOOTS is mashing his ice cream strenuously with a spoon.
MRS. CARLEY. Toots! don't be naughty and don't mash your ice cream up like that.
TOOTS. I like it.
CHRISTOPHER. Me too—it makes soup!
MRS. CARLEY. Your collar's crooked, Chris.
MRS. CARLEY. Phil, shall grandma cut your cake for you?
PHILIP. No, ma'am, Auntie Georgiana's going to cut it.
MRS. CARLEY. Oh, very well. How's your mamma, Elaine? Is she going to the big ball to-morrow?
ELAINE. Yes, ma'am.
MRS. CARLEY. We feel dreadfully. Philip's mamma's illness prevents our going.
ELAINE. Mamma said you weren't invited.
MRS. CARLEY. [Pats PHILIP on the head, to his great disgust and discomfort.] Your mamma had better mind! Your mamma is mistaken! Good-by, children, grandma is sorry she can't stay and have a good time with you. I am going to call, Elaine, on the Countess of Worling, Mrs. Tom Cooley's daughter. I don't think your mother knows them. Good-by, dears, enjoy yourselves.
[She goes out Left.
[Silence till the door is well shut behind grandma, and then the children break out with shouts, all of them, of "Good-by, Grandma. Good-by," repeated ad lib. Then they calm down.
PHILIP. Bully! Grandma's gone!
CHRISTOPHER. Ice cream!
ALL THE CHILDREN. More ice cream! Ice cream!
PHILIP. Let's see.
[MOLES hands him the ice cream dish.
CHRISTOPHER. [To PHILIP.] Can I have some more, or will it make me sick?
PHILIP. [Serves the children.] No, there's plenty. When there isn't enough, mamma always says it will make us sick.
CHRISTOPHER. And papa—when we have company unexpected, and there isn't enough of anything, papa always says F.H.B.
CHRISTOPHER. He says it means Family Hold Back, and we all have to say "No, thank you," when it comes around! Do you like grandma, Phil?
PHILIP. Naw! Grandma's no good.
[MOLES goes out with the empty ice cream dish.
TOOTS. No good, grandma!
[A knock outside the door Left.
GEORGIANA. [Outside.] Hello! Hello!
PHILIP. [Delighted.] Aunt Georgiana!
ALL THE CHILDREN. Aunt Georgiana!
GEORGIANA. [Outside.] Is this a private room at Sherry's, or may an old maid aunt come in?
ALL. No! Yes! Come in—come on in!
[They clatter on the table with their spoons, and shout "Hurrah! Aunt Georgiana!" as GEORGIANA enters. She is a beautiful creature, about thirty, and in the very height of health and spirits—an American Beauty rose the moment before it opens. She is flushed after her quick walk in the bracing, sunshiny winter's day. No wonder the children—and others—adore her!
GEORGIANA. What a good time!
CHRISTOPHER. Oh, we're having the beautifulest time, Auntie!
ELAINE. Perfectly lovely!
TOOTS. Um! Ice cream! Lots!
GEORGIANA. That's good! Stuff all you can, Toots! Are you ready to cut the cake?
ALL THE CHILDREN. Yes! Yes!
PHILIP. We waited for you.
CHRISTOPHER. We wouldn't let grandma.
[GEORGIANA drops her furs on the sofa and then comes to the table.
GEORGIANA. There's a ring in it. Whoever gets it will be married in a year.
[Starts to cut the cake.
TOOTS. I want the ring!
PHILIP. Hush up, you're only a baby!
[A loud knock on the door Left.
GEORGIANA. Oh, yes, I forgot. Cousin Sam wants to wish you many happy returns, Philip. May he come in?
PHILIP. Pshaw! Another man!
CHRISTOPHER. [In a "stagewhisper" to ELAINE.] He's the one—auntie's sweetheart!
GEORGIANA. [Amused.] Nonsense, Christopher, that's silly talk. Stop that for good! [Loud knocks repeated. To PHILIP.] May Cousin Sam come in? [PHILIP nods.] All right, he's got some presents! Come in, Mr. Coast.
[COAST comes in and goes straight to PHILIP. SAM COAST is a tall, slender, but strong-looking man, rather "raw-boned." He is dressed most fashionably and most expensively,—over-dressed, in fact, and yet not too vulgarly. A man of muscle and nerve, who makes his own code and keeps his own counsel.
COAST. Shake, Phil.
[Shakes his hand.
PHILIP. [His hand hurt.] Golly! He can squeeze, can't he, Aunt Georgiana?
GEORGIANA. Well, really! Miss Elaine Jackson—Mr. Coast.
ELAINE. [Embarrassed, rises, and curtseys.] How do you do?
COAST. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Hello, rest of you.
CHRISTOPHER and TOOTS. Hello!
CHRISTOPHER. Are you Auntie Georgiana's beau?
CHRISTOPHER. Lizzie says so!
LIZZIE. I never!
TOOTS, CHRISTOPHER, and PHILIP. Yes, you did! You did too! You did too!
LIZZIE. [To GEORGIANA.] I never did, miss!
PHILIP. Yes you did, you did too!
GEORGIANA. I hope you didn't, Lizzie. You may leave the children with me now.
LIZZIE. Yes, ma'am.
[LIZZIE, MOLES, and FOOTMAN go out at Right, each taking some plates, etc.
GEORGIANA. [To COAST.] I hope you don't mind.
COAST. Of course I don't. It's true as far as I'm concerned.
GEORGIANA. [Laughing.] It's not!
COAST. Listen, will you bet?
GEORGIANA. [Laughing.] Not before the children!
PHILIP. Come on, let's cut the cake!
GEORGIANA. Blow out the candles!
[All the children blow out the candles and then get down from the table.
COAST. And here's my contribution to the party.
[Brings out six big German mottoes from his pocket, and goes to table with them.
GEORGIANA. [In pretended excitement.] What? Mottoes!
ALL THE CHILDREN. [In delighted chorus.] Oh, mottoes!
PHILIP. Are those the silver mines?
COAST. No! Why?
[Laughing and handing the mottoes around, while GEORGIANA cuts the cake.
PHILIP. I heard grandma say the other day, you had pockets full of silver mines.
GEORGIANA. The cake's ready!
[All take a piece of cake. The children line up and down Centre from Right to Left: ELAINE, TOOTS, PHILIP, CHRISTOPHER.
COAST. Your motto!
[Handing one to GEORGIANA.
GEORGIANA. One for me too! Oh, thank you!
COAST. Certainly, because I want a bit of cake. I'm after that ring.
[Goes up back of table for cake.
GEORGIANA. Don't anybody swallow the ring.
[All eat the cake and now speak with their mouths full.
CHRISTOPHER. I haven't got it yet, Auntie.
ELAINE. Nor I.
GEORGIANA. Don't talk. Everybody eat till some one gets it!
TOOTS. [Crying.] I can't eat my cake! I can't eat my cake!
GEORGIANA. Why not, dear?
TOOTS. 'Cause I haven't got no place! I haven't got no place to put it!
PHILIP. He's full up!
GEORGIANA. Never mind, Toots, dear, you shall have a piece for supper.
TOOTS. Will I have room then?
CHRISTOPHER. [A sudden loud and frightened cry.] Oh! Oh!
ALL. What's the matter?
[All gather around CHRISTOPHER.
GEORGIANA. [Frightened.] What is it, Chris?
CHRISTOPHER. [Screaming.] Oh!
GEORGIANA. What is it, dear?
CHRISTOPHER. I've swallowed it!
CHRISTOPHER. I've swallowed the ring!
ELAINE. That isn't fair!
PHILIP. Just like Chris, 'fraid some one else'd get it.
GEORGIANA. No, Chris, dear! [To COAST.] What will we do?
COAST. Chris has made a mistake, here is the ring! [Finding it in his own piece of cake.] There weren't two, were there?
GEORGIANA. No, that's the one!
CHRISTOPHER. [Smiling and greatly relieved.] Oh! I guess I 'magined it, then.
GEORGIANA. [Affectionately pretending to shake him.] Well, young man, you can imagine yourself spanked for giving us all a fright. Now, come along, the mottoes. [To COAST.] Of course the ring wasn't meant for you. What are you going to do with it?
COAST. Keep it.
GEORGIANA. No, you mustn't; it's the children's!
COAST. Philip, may I keep the ring?
PHILIP. [On the hobby horse.] Yes, sir.
COAST. And I'll give each one of you a ring in place of it. What kind will you have, Elaine?
[He makes movement towards each child as he asks the question.
ELAINE. One big pearl with two great big rubies.
GEORGIANA. Mercy! Small order!
COAST. Very well. And you, Phil?
PHILIP. I don't want any ring. I want a watch and chain.
COAST. Good! And you, Chris, do you want a ring?
CHRISTOPHER. I want a gun!
COAST. All right. [Writing.] And Toots?
TOOTS. Nanny goat!
[They all laugh. MOLES and FOOTMAN enter, answering the bell which GEORGIANA has rung.
GEORGIANA. The table, Moles.
MOLES. Yes, ma'am.
[Takes away small plates, etc.; he then goes out Right, followed by FOOTMAN, who takes everything else from the table, leaving only the cover and a false nose left from the mottoes.
PHILIP. [Crosses to GEORGIANA at table.] Grandma's been up and said we were all to go and see mamma.
GEORGIANA. Go in your mottoes; that will be great fun!
ALL THE CHILDREN. Oh, yes! Hurrah!
[Running off Left.
GEORGIANA. Ssh! Don't shout so; remember poor mamma's headache!
[All repeat, "Remember poor mamma's headache" and take hands as they tip-toe out, PHILIP first, ELAINE second, CHRIS third, TOOTS fourth, repeating "Poor mamma's headache" in a whisper till they are all out.
COAST. I can't get this damned thing on. Too bad Cousin Loo's ill.
GEORGIANA. Oh, she isn't really. Louise is never perfectly well and happy unless she has something the matter with her, especially if she has nothing else to do; she's bored to-day, so she's got a headache! To-night, when there's a big ball to which she is not invited, she'll be frightfully alarmed about herself for fear of appendicitis, but to-morrow, when we have smart company at luncheon, she'll recover like a shot! It's all right for Louise, but it's hard on my brother, who really adores her.
[She sits beside the table.
COAST. Adores! Say! That's the word I want to use about you!
[Follows GEORGIANA to table, moves chair to front, and sits.
GEORGIANA. Nonsense, Sam! Do you know anything about some stocks called United Copper?
COAST. Rotten! Don't touch it!
GEORGIANA. My brother had a tip this morning on United Copper and wanted me to give him some money to put in it.
COAST. Listen! don't you do it.
GEORGIANA. I wish you'd use your influence with Steven to help him.
GEORGIANA. You must know how mad he is over speculation? But perhaps you don't know that he has gone through all his own money, and, if she'll let him, he'll go through his wife's next. [Smiling.] Then I suppose it would be my turn!
COAST. Why doesn't he keep out of it?
GEORGIANA. He can't, we must keep it out of him! Out of his blood!
COAST. There's only one way.
COAST. Ruin him!
GEORGIANA. That's too anarchistic! You speculate.
COAST. But I always win!
GEORGIANA. Can't you teach him?
COAST. Listen, if I could do that, I'd be the richest man in the world before I got through.
GEORGIANA. Can't you give Steve a tip on some sure things?
COAST. There ain't any sure things.
GEORGIANA. Why, other friends of Steve are always "putting him on to something good."
COAST. And what happens?
GEORGIANA. [Smiling distressfully.] Well, he does lose, usually.
COAST. I guess so!
GEORGIANA. But you must often have inside information.
COAST. And how much is that worth?
[Takes up the false nose from table.
GEORGIANA. Well, it usually costs Steve all he has! But I thought you—
COAST. [Interrupting.] Miss Georgiana, you see this false nose?
COAST. [Putting it on.] Well, now what do I look like?
GEORGIANA. [Laughing.] I shouldn't like to say!
COAST. Exactly! Well, see? That's what I'd be if I believed in tips and "inside information." If a man gives your brother a good tip, let him drop it like hot lead. People with a real good tip ain't giving it away. There's never enough to divide up and go around,—not in this world,—and inside information that gets told to a lamb like your brother is too damned outside information for me!
[He rises and moves away, half in irritation, half in humor.
GEORGIANA. Oh! Oh!
GEORGIANA. Are you as rich as people say?
GEORGIANA. How did you get it?
COAST. I started my dough with a mine.
GEORGIANA. Why can't you put Steve into a mine?
COAST. [Laughing.] What's the use? he'll lose everything just as quick in Wall Street.
GEORGIANA. But I mean a good mine.
COAST. [Coming back to her.] Listen! I worked right in our mine with my father when I was only eight years old! That's why I ain't better educated—I worked for ten years there down in the dirt and muck!
GEORGIANA. [Interrupting.] And silver!
COAST. [Leaning on the back of the chair.] Yes, and silver. [Laughs.] Father's out there working yet—don't have to now, but he likes it; he ain't comfortable on top of the earth—says there's too much room. If father'd been a man like Mackay, I guess he'd been just as rich as him to-day.
GEORGIANA. And still you won't help Steve?
COAST. T'ain't business. [He puts back his chair and leans toward GEORGIANA, hand on table.] If helping him, mind you, would get you, I might take it on. [Humorously.] I'd pay even the price of Steve to buy you.
GEORGIANA. [Taking the false nose and putting it on.] Well, I'm not for sale. [Rises.] But I would like to dispose of Steven.
COAST. Go on, please take that blame thing off.
[Follows GEORGIANA across the room to the Left.
GEORGIANA. No, I like it! You must understand this about my brother. [Taking off the nose.] He is the dearest, best fellow in the world! kind-hearted and wouldn't do a thing that wasn't straightforward in business.
COAST. But you've got to be tricky if you want to succeed in our business. I don't mind telling you right out between us, I'm tricky!
GEORGIANA. I'm sorry to hear it.
COAST. Louise was a pretty good liar when she was a kid. She ought to help her husband along a little.
GEORGIANA. That's just it! if Steve had the right sort of wife,—but all Louise wants is social position and more money.
[She sits on the hobby horse, amusedly.]
COAST. If Louise was like you!
[GEORGIANA puts the nose on quickly and rocks.
GEORGIANA. Heaven forbid! The only trouble with Steve is he's weak. He'd have been all right if he'd been a girl—or married to a president of Sorosis, or a daughter of the Present Revolution!
COAST. Miss Georgiana, take off that nose and let me ask you something.
GEORGIANA. Not at all, my dear Sammy. I know what it is you want to ask me! I'm much obliged and I won't.
COAST. You won't marry me!
COAST. Why not?
GEORGIANA. Because I don't love you.
COAST. Who do you love?
GEORGIANA. That's not your business!
COAST. Do you love any one?
GEORGIANA. [After a moment's hesitation, lies.] No!
COAST. [With insinuation.] Why don't you get Dick Coleman to help Steven?
GEORGIANA. [Taking off the nose.] Why do you ask me that now in that way?
GEORGIANA. Dick's a lawyer. What could he do for Steven?
COAST. That's not the information I wanted.
GEORGIANA. But it's all the information you'll get!
[Gets off the hobby horse and comes down a little.
COAST. [Follows her.] Georgiana, marry me, and I'll look after Steven all the rest of his life.
GEORGIANA. Sammy, you don't want me to marry you if I don't love you.
COAST. Yes, I do. Listen! I'd risk your not loving me; there's nothing on God's earth I wouldn't do to make you love me.
GEORGIANA. That's the trouble with you men, you think you can make a woman love you whether she wants to or not, but you can't!—neither can you keep her from loving you if she does, whether she wants to or not.
[Throws nose away; crossing to the Left, sits in the rocking chair there.
COAST. I'd give you everything!
GEORGIANA. That you can buy!
COAST. Do you mean that you'd rather be dead poor than marry me?
GEORGIANA. No, I don't say that! When I've lost everything and Steven and Louise are bankrupt, and we haven't a penny—
GEORGIANA. I might—I say I might—
GEORGIANA. [Laughing.] Oh, dear, no!
COAST. I take you at your word, anyhow.
[The children's voices are heard.
CHILDREN. [Off Left.] Come on back to our room and have some more fun.
GEORGIANA. Sh! Here come the children.
COAST. Damn the children!
[She puts finger up, COAST kisses it.
COAST. Pardon! But I don't give up! Understand—I'm going to marry you!
GEORGIANA. [Teasing him.] When? When?
[The children rush in screaming.
THE CHILDREN. Aunt Georgiana! Here's papa! Here's papa!
[And STEVEN CARLEY enters Left. He is a slender, smooth-shaven, young-old looking man, his voice and body almost vibrating with nerve; a personality that so often appeals to the tenderness in women, while it irritates men. He brings his hat and coat with him.
STEVEN. Hello, Sam!
STEVEN. Many happy returns, Georgy.
GEORGIANA. Oh, no, thank you! It's not for me yet, thank goodness!
PHILIP. Now let's play hide and seek.
THE CHILDREN. Hide and seek!
LIZZIE. [Entering Left.] Excuse me, please. Mrs. Jackson's maid is here for Miss Elaine.
PHILIP. Oh, pshaw!
CHRISTOPHER. Don't you go!
ELAINE. Oh, yes, I must! I'm sorry! [She goes up stage with great diffidence to STEVEN and shakes his hand as she curtseys.] Good-by, sir. [To COAST also.] Good-by, sir. [To GEORGIANA.] Good-by, ma'am, I've had a perfectly lovely time. [Aside to GEORGIANA.] Phil is my beau, but I like Mr. Coast awfully much too!
GEORGIANA. [Laughing.] You're beginning early! Come along, children, we'll take Elaine down. Excuse me, everybody, please.
PHILIP. If you've got any good tips, papa, save some for little brother.
[The children go out Left with GEORGIANA.
STEVEN. [Putting his hat and coat down on the sofa.] He's on to his father early! Sam, any news?
STEVEN. I've heard of a big thing, an absolutely straight tip,—inside information.
COAST. [Sitting in the rocker.] Well, don't tell it, or you'll spoil it.
STEVEN. The women are so down on my speculating, Georgiana especially.
[Sits on the table.
COAST. What do the women folks know about business? Why don't you keep what you do to yourself?
STEVEN. But you see my money's all gone, and I need more—only to recoup with.
COAST. [After a slight pause.] As I remember, you can do what you like with Louise's money.
STEVEN. But is it right?
COAST. You're too blamed afraid, that's why you always lose.
STEVEN. [Walking up and down.] I know it. And this is the biggest chance I've had yet. If I dared risk it, I'm sure I could make a fortune! Not in words! I know what I'm talking about, Sam. Louise would have everything she wanted—and the way she'd live then! She could drop the social chip off her shoulders, go anywhere, and receive everybody.
[Standing beside the table, he eats a little cake.
STEVEN. Do you advise me to risk it?
COAST. [Pretending indifference.] What?
STEVEN. Louise's money?
COAST. I ain't advising anything. If it went wrong, you'd blame me to the women.
STEVEN. Is that the kind of a man I am?
COAST. [Rises and goes to Steven and slaps him on the back.] No, Steve, I take it back. You take a licking better'n any feller I ever saw.
STEVEN. Experience! But this thing can't go wrong! The man who told me is the head and—I told Georgiana—didn't she give you a hint?
COAST. [After a slight pause.] No.
[Turns up to the window and stands there with his back to Steven.
STEVEN. My tip's a great one—safe! Now, shall I take it?
COAST. Of course, when I feel as you do about a thing, I do it.
STEVEN. And by George, I will too!
COAST. Why not?
[Turning and facing him.
STEVEN. Yes! what I make's for Louise, not for myself.
COAST. I wouldn't say anything to Louise about it.
[Comes down a little.
STEVEN. No, she'd be sure to talk it over with Georgiana.
[He sits by the table.
COAST. And, say, not a word, you know, about me in all this.
STEVEN. I give you my word, Sam.
COAST. Why not let the old lady in, too, Aunt Laura, if it's such a good thing?
[He gives a side look at STEVEN.
STEVEN. Didn't they tell you?
STEVEN. I put mother into East Mexicos!
[Whistles, crosses to the sofa Right, and sits on GEORGIANA'S furs; jumps up quickly, moves the furs, and then sits again.
STEVEN. That was an extraordinary thing. No one knows how it happened, but she lost every cent.
STEVEN. Dear old Georgiana pays the interest for me, and the old lady doesn't know.
COAST. Georgiana's a damn fine girl.
STEVEN. She is! I'll pay her back out of this coup, too, another good thing.
STEVEN. I believe I'll go back down town now.
[Both rise and go Left as MOLES comes in.
COAST. All right. Come on, we'll go together.
MOLES. Please, sir, may I speak to you a minute, Mr. Carley?
COAST. I'll wait downstairs, Steve.
[He goes out Left.
STEVEN. Yes, Moles?
MOLES. The champagne is out, sir.
STEVEN. Order another case.
MOLES. I did, three days ago, over the telephone, and I called them up yesterday to ask about it, and they said your bill was so long outstanding they'd please like it settled before filling any future orders.
STEVEN. Tell Mrs. Carley; the household bills are her affair, aren't they?
MOLES. She says there is some mistake. She gave you a check for the wine bill last month, sir.
STEVEN. Did she? Oh, of course she did. It was the day I heard about Alabama Rails and I bought a couple on margin! They're down just now. The wine people must wait.
MOLES. But we've a big luncheon, sir, to-morrow and no wine.
STEVEN. Very well, then, I'll get Miss Georgiana to give you a check. I don't want to bother Mrs. Carley, she's got a headache.
MOLES. The wages are due, sir, and the trades books weren't settled last month.
STEVEN. Well, I'll attend to it all to-morrow or next day, Moles. Give me my coat, will you? [MOLES gets the coat from the sofa and hands it to STEVEN.] I've been short of ready money for a little while, but things are looking up. By the way, you're a good sort; I'd like to do you a good turn. I happen to be on to something, Moles, on to something down in Wall Street. Would you like to make a little money?
MOLES. [Brightening visibly.] Indeed and I would, sir. I've got two thousand three hundred and sixteen dollars in my savings bank, and I've heard of how these Wall Street magnums made fortunes out of less'n that.
STEVEN. I'll double it for you! You get it for me, Moles, and I'll make it into five or six thousand for you, sure!
MOLES. Thank you, sir!
STEVEN. [Writes in note book.] I'll put in an order to buy for you the first thing in the morning; and you have your money down at my office by ten o'clock, can you?
MOLES. Yes, sir, I can get off in the morning. I can't thank you enough, sir!
STEVEN. Oh, that's all right,—we'll be a rich household here before we get through, Moles. They'll be telephoning us to please send in some orders for champagne!
[Puts note-book away.
MOLES. Oh, don't trouble about these bills, sir. I can hold off the people a little longer, and I'll order the wine in another place.
STEVEN. That's a good boy, Moles, then I won't have to bother my sister.
MOLES. Yes, sir.
[He goes out as GEORGIANA and the children enter Left.
GEORGIANA. Here's papa! Come along, now, Steve, I've promised the children a game of hide and go seek!
STEVEN. All right, I knew father wanted to do something very much,—only couldn't think what. Of course, it was hide and seek!
GEORGIANA. Philip must be "it" first!
PHILIP. All right!
[PHILIP goes into the corner Right, with his back to the others. All hide behind or under the different pieces of furniture—GEORGIANA under the table, TOOTS back of the rocker, STEVEN under the sofa, etc.
PHILIP. [Impatient.] Are you ready?
CHRISTOPHER. Not yet!
[Getting behind curtains Centre window.
PHILIP. Now are you ready?
[LIZZIE comes in Left, as soon as STEVEN hides under sofa.
GEORGIANA. Not yet!
[Getting under the table.
LIZZIE. Mr. Carley, please, sir!
STEVEN. [Putting his head out from under the sofa.] Yes, Lizzie?
CHRISTOPHER. Don't turn round, Phil, it's only Lizzie. Wait!
LIZZIE. Excuse me, but Mr. Coast sent me upstairs to see—
STEVEN. Oh, by George, yes! [Coming out from the sofa.] I forgot. I must go back down town.
PHILIP. Oh, pshaw!
[About to turn.
GEORGIANA. Don't turn, Phil!
CHRISTOPHER. No, the rest of us is hid!
STEVEN. I'm sorry, children! Father'd a great deal rather play hide and seek, but he's got to go to work. It's just like when you'd rather play but have to study!
PHILIP. When I get growed, I shan't never do anything I don't want to.
GEORGIANA. Then you'd be the most wonderful person in the world, and they'd put you in wax in the Eden Musee!
STEVEN. [Kissing PHIL, then CHRIS, then TOOTS.] Good-by, dears.
THE CHILDREN. [Dolefully.] Good-by.
[STEVEN crosses to the door Left.
GEORGIANA. Never mind, I'll finish with you. Don't turn around, Phil.
LIZZIE. [At the door Left.] Beg pardon, sir, but Moles has been and told me what you was going to do for him, sir. Would you be considering it great impertinence if I asked you to take six hundred dollars what I've saved, sir, and do things with it?
STEVEN. Certainly, Lizzie, send it by Moles in the morning.
LIZZIE. [Delighted.] Oh, thank you, sir!
STEVEN. I'm glad to do it; you've served us faithfully for some years now, Lizzie.
[He goes out.
LIZZIE. He's gone, miss.
[She goes out also.
GEORGIANA. [Calls.] Ready!
[PHILIP turns and looks about the room, then begins to look under things. He sees his AUNT GEORGIANA first and is about to touch her, but she laughingly motions him not to and points out TOOTS'S hiding place.
PHILIP. [Finding TOOTS, touches him.] You're it!
TOOTS. [Very pleased.] I'm it! I'm it!
[Jumps up and down.
CHRISTOPHER. [Disappointed.] Somebody find me.
PHILIP. Oh, come on out from behind the curtain—you're—easy.
[CHRISTOPHER comes out. Meanwhile COLEMAN is heard calling, "Hello, Phil, Phil," outside as he comes up the stairs.
PHILIP. [By the hobby horse.] It's Mr. Dick!
THE CHILDREN. It's Mr. Dick!
[Starts to get out from under the table, but COLEMAN enters, so she crawls back.
[LIEUTENANT RICHARD COLEMAN is a handsome, finely built man of about thirty-two. He is a West Pointer, is a good oarsman, a crack shot, and a good fellow all around. No finicking about him, no nerves. Just a sane, healthy, fine fellow.
DICK. Hello! Many happy returns, Phil. [Shakes hands.] Where's your Aunt Georgiana! [Silence.] Is she out?
PHIL. No, she's under the table!
CHRISTOPHER AND TOOTS. [Delighted.] She's under the table! She's under the table!
DICK. [Laughing.] What!
PHILIP. Hide and seek.
[DICK looks under the table; he and GEORGIANA laugh.
DICK. Good morning, are you at home?
GEORGIANA. [Very embarrassed.] Oh, mercy! Do go away so I can get out!
DICK. [Tremendously amused.] Come on out!
GEORGIANA. No! I can't with you there. [Laughing.] Please leave the room for just one minute!
DICK. Not if I know it! Come on out!
GEORGIANA. Not for worlds! Go away, please! [DICK shakes his head "No."] Then I shall never come out.
DICK. Ah, but that's hardly fair, because I want to talk to you comfortably.
GEORGIANA. Well, then, come on under!
DICK. Is there room?
GEORGIANA. A cable car conductor who knew his business could seat four more people in here.
DICK. Still—I think I'm more comfortable up here.
GEORGIANA. Selfish! Go on away! [DICK shakes his head.] Children, if you love your auntie, go for Mr. Dick with all your might and main and push him into the hall.
[The children shout and rush toward DICK; they catch hold of him.
THE CHILDREN. Go away!
DICK. [With mock ferocity.] The first child I get hold of I'll spank!
[The children laugh and shout and run away from him to behind the table.
THE CHILDREN. Spank!
GEORGIANA. Ogre! Very well! After all, I'm not vain! It would take Barnum's human snake to get out of this gracefully, anyway!
[Coming out, arranging her dress and hair.
DICK. Have some help?
GEORGIANA. No, thank you. But still, what a horrid person you are, aren't you?
[They both laugh.
DICK. You aren't!
GEORGIANA. O dear me! Making up now with a compliment! Well, what do you think of my birthday antics? Playing hide and seek—or, perhaps, trained elephants—doesn't interest you!
CHRISTOPHER. Lelephants! Oh, Auntie! Is the circus coming?
[The children give themselves up to transports. PHIL hugs TOOTS and repeats "Circus."
GEORGIANA. No, darling, but this circus is going—your old-maid aunt—to put herself to rights!
DICK. You couldn't improve on present appearances!
GEORGIANA. Really! Such fine speeches! But they don't go with your manners! Would you like to join in the game?
PHILIP. Oh, yes! Hurrah!
[Runs to DICK, when MRS. CARLEY comes in from the Left.
MRS. CARLEY. Well! What's going on?
MRS. CARLEY. Not for me!
GEORGIANA. Don't you want to play hide and go seek, mother?
MRS. CARLEY. I'm playing it all the time with old age! That's enough!
GEORGIANA. Well, excuse me, please, while I repair damages.
[She goes out Right.
DICK. [Calls.] Come back.
CHILDREN. [Calling.] Come back!
MRS. CARLEY. I want the children for a few minutes.
THE CHILDREN. [Disappointed.] Oh, Grannie!
[She goes to children and drives them off Left ahead of her.
THE CHILDREN. Oh, Grandma!
MRS. CARLEY. Mrs. Vale is downstairs with the twins, to wish Phil many happy returns.
[The children go out Left unwillingly. MRS. CARLEY comes back.
DICK. Going to spoil our game, Grandma?
MRS. CARLEY. Don't you grandma me! You're old enough for me to marry you.
MRS. CARLEY. Don't worry! Having lost two good husbands, I'm not going to risk losing a third.
DICK. I breathe freely once more.
MRS. CARLEY. I thought Sammy Coast was here.
DICK. Not since I came. He seems a clever chap!
MRS. CARLEY. We think so, and we hope so. He adores Georgiana.
MRS. CARLEY. Huh! huh! [DICK walks away.] What do you say to that match?
DICK. You don't mean?—
[Turns to MRS. CARLEY.
MRS. CARLEY. Looks like it! It would be a fine thing for both of them. Sam could give her a fortune, and Georgiana give him a big position.
MRS. CARLEY. He's crazy about her! Comes here every day—follows her like a dog.
DICK. But it isn't—
MRS. CARLEY. [Interrupting.] Not yet, but we don't dare breathe! And we're on tiptoe for the final word.
DICK. What does Steven say?
MRS. CARLEY. Delighted, of course. [Walks away a little.] I hope you haven't brought Steve any tips to-day.
DICK. [Laughing.] No!
MRS. CARLEY. Thank goodness! He doesn't seem to have had any this week and the house has been fairly quiet! [GEORGIANA comes back.] I must go to Mrs. Vale. [Goes out.]
GEORGIANA. Mother looks pleased.
DICK. She's never very depressed, is she?
GEORGIANA. Yes, sometimes,—in the day-time! It's largely a matter of frocks and bonnets, and depends sometimes on the exact color of her hair.
DICK. I often wonder that you keep on living with Mrs. Carley and Louise. They can't help being beastly uncongenial to you.
GEORGIANA. But Mrs. Carley brought me up. She did her worst with the best intentions, and you mustn't forget Steve! [She sits beside the table and DICK leans against it to talk to her.] He's my own brother, you know, and I'm so afraid Louise will finally disillusion him and spoil his happiness. I'm standing on guard.
DICK. You think a lot of Steve.
GEORGIANA. I love him better than any one else in the world. [She adds in a very low voice.] Almost!
[A short pause.
DICK. Steve comes second!
GEORGIANA. [Low voice and looking away.] Perhaps.
DICK. I hope you don't mind my asking you these questions.
GEORGIANA. No, I like it.
DICK. I don't want you to tell me anything more than you care to.
GEORGIANA. [Turning and half laughing.] That's very good of you.
DICK. But I wish you'd tell me everything.
GEORGIANA. My dear Dick, there isn't anything more for me to tell.
DICK. Oh, very well, if you want to leave it that way.
GEORGIANA. Leave what?
DICK. I mean if that's all you want to tell me.
GEORGIANA. Why don't you tell me something.
DICK. That's what I've come to do.
GEORGIANA. Have you?
DICK. [Turns and faces GEORGIANA.] Our regiment is ordered off to the Philippines.
GEORGIANA. Your regiment?
GEORGIANA. [Breathless.] Who's going?
DICK. Who? Why, we're going, of course.
GEORGIANA. All of you?
DICK. Yes, all of us. There are two insurrections on a couple of islands that must be put down, and they want some fresh men.
GEORGIANA. But it will be awful warfare out there, won't it, unfair, cruel, unlawful warfare?
DICK. I suppose that's what it's likely to be with the natives until we teach them a thorough lesson on every one of the infernal islands.
[Hesitates, rises; they are both in front of the table.
DICK. But what?
GEORGIANA. [Pause.] But your business,—how can you leave your office?
DICK. There are plenty of people who'll be only too glad to take on my clients.
GEORGIANA. But when you come back?
DICK. If the worst comes to the worst, I'll have to begin all over again.
GEORGIANA. No! Don't go—Dick! Don't go!
DICK. Why not?
GEORGIANA. [Humorously, to cover her emotion.] I don't want any one else to get your clients.
DICK. Oh, you were thinking of my career! That'll take care of itself if I come back—and if I don't—
DICK. They said we were a lot of dandies in the regiment, and that if it ever came to fighting, people'd see us back down!
GEORGIANA. But need you all go?
DICK. That's the glory of it! It's fine, Georgy. There isn't a single man who'll be left behind, not on any old excuse!
DICK. You do want me to go, then, don't you?
GEORGIANA. Yes, if it's like that, I want you to go—but—I want you to come back, too!
[Almost breaking down.]
DICK. Hello! I believe you're crying.
GEORGIANA. I'm not!
DICK. [Tenderly, scarcely believing.] Do you care so much as that, Georgy?
GEORGIANA. [Proudly.] Of course I care!
DICK. It's funny, isn't it—think how long we've known each other.
GEORGIANA. [Still with a choke and a tear.] I don't see why it's funny.
DICK. What I mean is, we're sentimental beasts—we people.
GEORGIANA. Thank you, I don't care for the way you put it.
DICK. [Takes a long breath.] Well, I wish you joy, Georgiana.
GEORGIANA. Much obliged.
DICK. And good-by.
GEORGIANA. [Rises.] Not now, for good.
DICK. [Laughing.] Oh, no, we aren't off for ten days yet. But I wanted to tell my old pal first.
GEORGIANA. That was good of you. And you'll come in often before you go, won't you, Dick?
DICK. You bet! Every chance I get.
[Both go up to the window. He has meant to go, but she manoeuvres him to the big seat instead.
GEORGIANA. And anything I can do for you?
DICK. [Sitting beside her.] Oh, I don't think there can be anything.
GEORGIANA. Oh, yes, there is always something women can do for men who go away to fight. They make things! Let me make something for you.
DICK. Can't think of anything. Got everything I want.
GEORGIANA. You're a lucky man to have everything you want—and going off to the Philippines with a jolly crowd of friends and glad you're going! I take back all my sympathy, and I wouldn't make you anything now if you asked me to.
DICK. And, by George, just when I'd thought of something.
DICK. [Laughing.] A court-plaster case!
GEORGIANA. You can buy one in a drug store.
DICK. I ought to have some present to carry in my breast pocket; don't you know bullets are always warded off that way?
GEORGIANA. Oh, that was in the old romantic days of the nineteenth century, and then it was a prayer book or a bunch of love letters. To-day it's much more apt to be a cigarette case!
[The children run in, led by PHILIP.
PHILIP. They've gone! Hurrah! They've gone!
[GEORGIANA and DICK rise.
CHRISTOPHER. They've gone! They've gone!
[TOOTS hangs on to DICK.
PHILIP. [Taking hold of GEORGIANA.] Come on, now, our game, or we'll never have it!
CHRISTOPHER. Blindman's buff!
TOOTS. Yes, blindman's buff!
GEORGIANA. [To DICK.] Are you game?
DICK. Just one round, and then I must be off. I'll be blindfolded.
[Takes out his handkerchief.
TOOTS. I want to be blindfolded!
PHILIP. No! Let Mr. Dick!
DICK. [Giving his handkerchief to GEORGIANA.] Will you blindfold me?
GEORGIANA. [Binds his eyes.] To my faults?
DICK. That would be Love's Labour Lost.
GEORGIANA. How do you mean Love's Labour Lost?
PHILIP. Don't let him peek!
DICK. And whoever I catch, I kiss!
PHILIP. No, tell the name first!
DICK. No, I must play my own game, and that is to kiss her first, and tell the name afterwards!
GEORGIANA. Now, turn him around three times, Christopher. [CHRISTOPHER does so, holding DICK by the knees.] And keep away, everybody!
[All watch eagerly. DICK moves down stage, reaching his arms out as a blindfolded person does, but always with his arms too high to catch one of the children.
PHILIP. Put your arms lower!
CHRISTOPHER. Yes, you can only catch Aunt Georgiana that way!
[GEORGIANA, happy, pinches CHRISTOPHER'S arm playfully. DICK lowers his arms for a moment, but purposely catches no one. Then he lifts his arms a little towards GEORGIANA, who cries out and moves, lifting TOOTS on the table. DICK follows the sound of her voice and catches hold of TOOTS'S head.
PHILIP. [Excited.] Musn't move your hands!
DICK. Make her kiss me, then.
[GEORGIANA leans over, holding TOOTS to one side, and kisses DICK herself.
PHILIP. [Delighted, calls out.] Guess who! Guess who!
[GEORGIANA motions to the children not to tell and moves away.
DICK. [Hearing the voice from where he supposes the kiss came, he lakes off the bandage. He sees TOOTS and is disappointed.] Why—I thought it was Georgiana! Toots! You rascal!
CHRISTOPHER. [Trying to tell.] But Mr. Dick, Mr. Dick!
[TOOTS laughs and claps hands. GEORGIANA gets hold of CHRISTOPHER and holds her hand over his mouth. GEORGIANA and CHRISTOPHER follow DICK to the door Left.
GEORGIANA. [To CHRISTOPHER, to stop his telling.] Sh! [To DICK.] Good-by!
TOOTS. [Wanting to tell.] But—
PHILIP. Good-by! Good-by!
GEORGIANA. Good-by Dick! Come soon again!
GEORGIANA. I'll wait in all day!
CHRISTOPHER. But Mr. Dick, it was—
[GEORGIANA hushes him with her hand over his mouth.
[He goes out Left.
CHRISTOPHER, PHILIP, AND TOOTS. Good-by!
[GEORGIANA bursts into tears and hugs TOOTS on top of the table.
CHRISTOPHER. But it was you, Aunt Georgiana!
GEORGIANA. Don't any of you tell on auntie! You won't, will you? Let auntie have her own way.
THE CURTAIN FALLS
The drawing-room at the Carleys'. A handsome room in dark wood, with tapestry on the walls and an old portrait built in over the mantle. The furniture is gilt, Louis XVI, covered with old crimson brocade. There is a warmth about the room, a profusion of flowers, some books and magazines. A piano in the upper left-hand corner, a window with a balcony at Left. Doors Right and Left. LOUISE and MRS. CARLEY are replacing the furniture, which has been disarranged. Out on the balcony MOLES is seen, with PHILIP and CHRISTOPHER, arranging an American flag on the balcony balustrade.
LOUISE. Thank goodness, the luncheon's over!
MRS. CARLEY. Yes, I thought they'd never go, and I've got the Shindle woman coming to do my hair.
LOUISE. I noticed it was getting a little dark at the wrong end, mother.
MRS. CARLEY. What was it Steve said this morning? It was always darkest before blond! Well, it's lucky I'm good-natured so long as I live in this family and don't want to grow old.
LOUISE. What are they doing on the balcony?
MRS. CARLEY. Dick Coleman's regiment marches by here this afternoon.
[She sits by a table Right.
LOUISE. Do they start for the Philippines to-day?
MRS. CARLEY. Yes, and the President is to receive them in front of the Plaza.
LOUISE. [Coming to her.] Have you noticed Steve?
MRS. CARLEY. No,—has he got a new suit?
LOUISE. No, something's troubling him. [Thoughtfully.] I believe he's been speculating again and has lost.
MRS. CARLEY. He couldn't; he hasn't got anything more to lose.
LOUISE. [Petulantly.] He hasn't played with the children for a week and he hates going out so lately,—wants to refuse every invitation! Even the ones you and I've been patting ourselves on the back for getting! I can't stand it.
MRS. CARLEY. Quite right, too—if one doesn't go out, where can one go, and if we don't go anywhere, what are we to do? We can't stay home. [Rising, she crosses to mirror on table Left.] I say, dear, what about having my hair a little redder?
LOUISE. Let me see! [MRS. CARLEY faces her—LOUISE examines her critically.] I wouldn't much; if you do, people will say you dye it.
MRS. CARLEY. I don't care what they say, so long as they don't say it to my face. Have you had yours massaged this morning?
LOUISE. Yes, why?
[Goes to mirror and, pushing MRS. CARLEY out of the way, examines her face in the glass.
MRS. CARLEY. Nothing, only I think you must have it done religiously, darling; the crow's feet are beginning to come.
[Sits on sofa and begins to crochet on an afghan.
LOUISE. Oh, I'm worried to-day and besides, I think our masseuse is getting careless. [Turns, goes up to MRS. CARLEY, and sits on the sofa.] I'm going to change her; she never tells you anything about anybody, anyway.
MRS. CARLEY. I told you that the first day she came. She was positively rude the way she refused to be pumped by me about the people next door. Do you know I'm worried too. [Rises, gives LOUISE her work, and again looks in the glass.] I think my hips are getting bigger.
LOUISE. Well, my dear mother, you must have hips sometime in your life, and you've done pretty well. Look at your friend, Mrs. Brint.
[FOOTMAN enters with tray, goes to table Right, and collects the small cups and saucers.
MRS. CARLEY. My dear! when Sarah Brint was married she looked like a widow! [LOUISE laughs.] It made me so mad seeing the people eat everything the way they did.
LOUISE. Mamma, you're so amusing. Of course we do have good food; we must get people here somehow.
MRS. CARLEY. And I not daring to eat a thing! Why is it nice things are all fattening?
[The FOOTMAN goes out.
LOUISE. [Rises and comes to MRS. CARLEY.] Does it strike you that this dress of mine makes me look too short-waisted?
MRS. CARLEY. Turn round. [LOUISE does so.] Yes! don't wear it again.
LOUISE. [Irritated.] Why didn't you tell me before lunch?
MRS. CARLEY. I didn't notice it!
LOUISE. [Angry. Turns to mirror and then to MRS. CARLEY.] That's just it! You don't care! You don't think of me ever! You only think of yourself!
MRS. CARLEY. [Angry.] That's not true. I've sacrificed my life for you, and for what good?
LOUISE. What good! Good heavens, haven't Steve and I done everything for you, lugged you into the best position almost in New York?
MRS. CARLEY. Yes, that's just it, "almost!" Your husband hates me and you back him up—and keep me in the background!
LOUISE. I couldn't! You wouldn't stay there.
[With a disagreeable laugh.
MRS. CARLEY. [Sits in chair left of the table.] That's it, insult me,—but I've had enough! I've made up my mind, anyway, to leave your house and live by myself.
LOUISE. Oh, stop, mamma. You know I didn't mean anything. I'm sorry!
MRS. CARLEY. [Crying.] No, I'm in the way.
LOUISE. You're not in the way. You know I couldn't live without my darling pretty little mamma. Please stop crying and kiss me.
[Puts her arms around her.
MRS. CARLEY. [Still crying.] I haven't anybody in the world but you.
LOUISE. Don't I know that, don't I know I couldn't get on without you! There! [Kisses her.] Now it's all right. Come on, darling, come up and get your hair dyed.
MRS. CARLEY. [Pleasantly.] Sh! don't call it that!
LOUISE. I am irritable lately, I know it—but I see without our money even Steve couldn't get us a decent position. We might just as well face the truth. Certain people don't appreciate you and me, mamma. We aren't even acquired tastes.
MRS. CARLEY. No one ever appreciated me long. I was prettier than you were at your age, and my husbands both fell in love with me at first sight. But I never wore well.
[She takes a magazine from the table and begins to cut the pages.
LOUISE. I wonder if Georgiana will marry Sammy!
MRS. CARLEY. I wish to goodness she would.
LOUISE. I believe she's in love with Mr. Coleman.
MRS. CARLEY. No, they've always known each other.
LOUISE. Well, some people wear better than we do, that's all! and I believe she's in love with him, whether either of them know it or not.
[GEORGIANA comes in Left with BELLA SHINDLE. MISS SHINDLE is a florid, buxom young person, pleased with herself and all the world. She carries several packages.
GEORGIANA. Here's Bella, mother.
EVERYBODY. How are you, Bella?
GEORGIANA. All your guests gone?
[She sits left of table. MRS. CARLEY goes back of table, and LOUISE moves to the right.
MRS. CARLEY. Yes, thank goodness! You might have been here.
GEORGIANA. You know I can't stand your would-be smart parties!
LOUISE. I think they're always angry when they don't see you.
GEORGIANA. Nonsense! Did you have a good time? Pick everybody else to pieces?
LOUISE. No, we all said nice things about Mrs. Lothman.
GEORGIANA. Mercy! What's the matter with her?
LOUISE. My dear, she's a perfect nonentity; she might just as well not exist.
GEORGIANA. [Amused.] Well, to tell the truth, I don't care much about her myself. She's one of those boring creatures who when you ask her how she is, really tells you!
MRS. CARLEY. You with fancy work! What in the world are you doing?
GEORGIANA. I am knitting a tie for Dick!
MRS. CARLEY. Good gracious. Well, I'll go upstairs and get into something loose. I'll be ready in ten minutes.
[She goes out Right.
LOUISE. I must see the children; I haven't seen them to-day.
[She follows her mother out.
BELLA. Miss Carley.
GEORGIANA. Yes, Bella.
BELLA. Mr. Coleman, Lieutenant Coleman, is going to the Philippines to-day.
GEORGIANA. [Sighing involuntarily.] Yes, Bella.
BELLA. I've got a friend going along.
GEORGIANA. In the company?
BELLA. Yes—well, I don't mind telling you—he's my young man, Miss Carley.
GEORGIANA. Why, Bella, I didn't know you were engaged?
BELLA. Well, I don't know as you'd call it exactly, yes I would say as we was engaged—though I haven't got a ring. But we're going to get married when he comes back, if hugging and kissing is binding, which I guess, with witnesses! He wanted to give me a ring of his mother's, but I said "No," I wouldn't take that, it was sacred and he'd always wore it. You see it was an old-fashioned-looking sort of onyx stone with oyster pearls, and not for me—I'd rather wait.
GEORGIANA. You have an eye out on the main chance, Bella.
BELLA. Well, I wasn't born yesterday. Say, all the girls was crazy about him. I met him to dancing school Tuesday evenings at Adelphi Hall and we started right in, every Sunday night to church and every Saturday to the theatre. He enjoyed Sundays best and I Saturdays, but I felt it was because church was cheapest. He's dreadful economical.
GEORGIANA. You get more attention than I do from my soldier. You at least have the consolation of knowing you're the girl he's left behind.
BELLA. 'Tain't much consolation if I get left for good! Say, will you ask Mr. Coleman to sort o' look after him? Ask him to please put him in the back row when there's fighting—and keep an eye on his health. I'm afraid it's dreadful damp being a soldier; and do you know that man actually catches cold if he forgets his rubbers and it sprinkles?
GEORGIANA. I don't think he ought to go if he's so delicate; Mr. Coleman will take an interest in your friend, I know, if I ask him. What's his name?
BELLA. Mr. Gootch.
GEORGIANA. Mr. Gootch! Yes, I can remember that. But, you see, if he's a soldier he must do his duty, whatever it is.
BELLA. There's no holding him back! He's jus' as likely as not to lose his position at Snipleys, Crabford & Snipleys, too, but he will go! It's surprising to see a man with such a weak chest and delicate feet, so awful brave and persistent.
LOUISE. [Coming back.] I bore the children to death, so I left them. What are all these bundles, Bella?
BELLA. Christmas presents. This is just the time of the year to buy, you know, you can get such bargains! and if there's one thing I think nicer'n anything else to get cheap, it's Christmas presents.
GEORGIANA. You should do like Mrs. Carley, Bella, save half of the things you get one year to give away the next.
[She sits by the table and goes on with her work.
LOUISE. I always do that. I get so many things I can't bear.
GEORGIANA. But you must be careful not to send them back to the same place they came from! That has happened.
[BELLA laughs out loud and sits on the sofa. LOUISE sits opposite GEORGIANA.
GEORGIANA. What have you got? Sit down and tell us.
BELLA. Thank you, ma'am. [Delighted with the opportunity. Taking up the different parcels.] Well, I've got an elegant pair of scissors for mother, marked down because of a flaw in the steel, but she's near-sighted, and she don't want to use 'em anyway—it's just to feel she has another pair. Scissors is mother's fad—sort of born in her, I guess, for my mother's mother was a kind of dressmaker. She didn't have robes and mantucks over her door, you know,—she was too swell for that,—she went out by the day! And this is a real bronze Louis ink-stand for my sister's husband, only cost thirty-nine cents and hasn't got a thing the matter with it, so long as you don't see the others—if you see the others, you'll observe that there's a naked lady missing off the top part which I'm glad of anyway as I'm giving it to a gentleman, and he'll never see the others besides. And this is two boxes of writing paper; aren't they huge! awful cheap with a lovely picture of an actress on top—Lillian Russell in Mice and Men, I think, on one, and Jean Duresk the Opera Singer in Lonegrind on the other. The boxes 'av got false bottoms—so there ain't very much writing material, but the rich effect's there all the same.
GEORGIANA. [Laughing.] Bella, you're a wonderful shopper!
BELLA. And this is a copy of Homer's Iliad for my sister. Do you know it? Is it nice? Anything like Hall Caine's works, or Mary Corelli's? She's always been my sister's favorite writeress. You see they've got a whole counter of these beautifully bound in red and gold, and only nineteen cents. But it's so hard to decide which to buy. I've about decided now to take this back and change it for Lucille. Which do you think my sister'd like best, Homer's Iliad or Lucille?
GEORGIANA. I believe she'd prefer Lucille, and besides half the fun in shopping is in the changing one's mind and taking things back, don't you think so?
BELLA. Yes, ma'am, I think so.
[MOLES enters Left.
MOLES. Mr. Coast to see Miss Georgiana, please.
GEORGIANA. Did you say I was in?
MOLES. Yes, miss.
GEORGIANA. What a bore! Very well, Moles.
[He goes out.
BELLA. I'll be going up to Mrs. Carley, now.
[Goes toward the door Right.
GEORGIANA. Wait a minute, Bella. I want you to do something for me. Entertain Sammy, Louise, till I come back.
[She goes out with BELLA.
LOUISE. I never was able to entertain Sammy, but I'll do my best.
[COAST enters, announced by MOLES, who immediately exits.
COAST. Hello, Lou, how goes it?
COAST. Where's Miss Georgiana?
LOUISE. She'll be down in a minute. Sam, do you know what's the matter with Steve?
COAST. Probably he's been losing.
LOUISE. Whose money?
LOUISE. But can't you help him?
COAST. No; it's not my business.
[Sits on the sofa, putting the pillows out of his way.
LOUISE. But he's my husband, and you're my cousin.
COAST. What's the difference? Twenty years ago, when your father was rich as Croesus and my guv'ner and I up a stump for—tobacco, anyway, if not for bread, did he lift a finger to help us? not on your life! That lets me out! Every man for himself—and listen, if I wanted to starve I could lose a real good fortune through Steve Carley, without any outside help.
LOUISE. I told mother you'd be like that.
COAST. We're all pretty much alike; she'd recognize the Coast family.
LOUISE. If you were married to Georgiana, you couldn't ignore her brother. She isn't like us.
COAST. Well, if I could get Georgiana, [Going to LOUISE.] I'd be willing to do a good deal. She's the only woman I can see in this world my size.
LOUISE. So I guessed, but if Dick Coleman proposes before he goes to the Philippines, I wouldn't give much for your chances.
COAST. Listen, Lou; did you ever know me to lose anything I'd set my mind on getting.
COAST. Well I mean to marry Georgiana, Dick Coleman or no Dick Coleman. No, I'll put it different from that. I mean to make her love me, because, by God, I love that woman so I'd do anything, commit a crime almost, to get her.
[STEVEN enters Left and COAST goes up to the mantel.
LOUISE. Steve, aren't you up town early?
STEVEN. A little.
[Sits Left. MOLES enters.
MOLES. Beg pardon, sir.
LOUISE. What is it, Moles?
MOLES. [To LOUISE.] Mr. Carley, m'm. [To STEVEN.] Could I speak with you a few moments, sir?
STEVEN. I'm very busy to-day, Moles.
MOLES. But have you noticed sir, this morning, United Copper is lower.
STEVEN. It can't be helped—go about your business.
MOLES. But for heaven's sake, Mr. Carley—you said yesterday if it dropped another point and we couldn't give up any more money, Lizzie and me'd both lose everything we had.
STEVEN. I'm sorrier than I can say, but there are lots of others worse off than you.
[GEORGIANA reenters Right.
COAST. [Cynically to STEVEN.] You don't mean to say you've been speculating with Moles's money.
STEVEN. It was for himself, not me, I put him in.
MOLES. And Lizzie, sir. And we'd counted it up, how if we made all you said, we could leave service soon, sir, and we could afford a small house in the country with say four rooms and one baby—Lizzie doing her own work.
LOUISE. Do you mean to say, Steve, that your own servants have lost their earnings through you?
MOLES. Yes, m'm.
STEVEN. [Doggedly.] Put it that way if you like. I meant to do them a good turn.
LOUISE. But we can't let that happen; we must pay them back!
COAST. [Amused.] Bully for you, Louise! getting generous in your old age.
LOUISE. It would ruin us socially if it got out!
COAST. Oh, I see!
MOLES. Mr. Carley said it was sure, ma'am.
[COAST laughs a rather coarse laugh.
STEVEN. For heaven's sake, Coast! Go away, Moles.
[MOLES goes out Left.
COAST. [To STEVEN.] Are they holding on for you?
STEVEN. They said they'd give me till to-morrow to put up more security.
COAST. What do you need?
LOUISE. How much more security, Steve?
[Goes to STEVE.
STEVEN. Say a hundred and fifty thousand.
LOUISE. He'd better hold on, Sam, hadn't he; what do you think of the stock?
COAST. Don't ask me.
LOUISE. We've got to risk it, anyway. Use some of my bonds, Steve.
LOUISE. Yes, I mean it, we must.
STEVEN. You don't understand me—we can't use your security.
LOUISE. Why not?
STEVEN. [Rising and half turning away.] Not—again.
LOUISE. How do you mean "again"?
STEVEN. Your money is all there, all, already buried in it!
LOUISE. All my money? All of it!
STEVEN. Yes, I wanted to win back your mother's, I wanted—
LOUISE. [Beside herself.] You wanted! You wanted!! You wanted!!! To ruin us, that is what I should say you wanted to do!—Do you mean to say, behind my back, you've gambled away every cent I have, as well as all my mother's money!?!
GEORGIANA. No! it's not possible—Steve!
[Comes between STEVEN and LOUISE.
STEVEN. When did you come in, Georgy?
LOUISE. Georgy! [No answer; she continues hysterically.] He can't deny it; it's true! And it's rank dishonesty, that's what it is! You've robbed me, you've robbed my mother, you've robbed your own children! The papers will call you a—
STEVEN. [Interrupting.] That's not true! I had control of your money—to do with as I choose, and I did what I thought was for the best.
LOUISE. You've never done anything for me that wasn't for the worst!
[Walking up and down excitedly.
LOUISE. It's true! If I can save a cent out of this ruin, I'll take it and the children away from you! I'll never live with you again! I'll show you up to all your smart friends who've snubbed me! I'll send you to state prison if I can!
[Sits in the arm-chair down Left.
COAST. Shut up, Lou! You'd better get a little legal advice before you start on that track.
[Goes to LOUISE.
LOUISE. Well, what have you got to say? My mother brought you up, was a second mother to your brother who ruined us, but you've got your money, I suppose. You've been clever enough to keep your money in your own hands,—you and he will always have enough!
GEORGIANA. Will you listen to me and let me say what I'm trying to?
LOUISE. [Bursting into floods of tears, overwhelmed with sympathy for herself.] He's broken my heart! That's what he's done; broken my heart!
GEORGIANA. [Going to LOUISE.] Oh, no, he hasn't, Louise, he's only broken your bank, and you don't know the difference. I want to say to you now,—that all Steve needed was real love, and the guiding hand of a true, sensible woman—
STEVEN. [Interrupting her, goes to GEORGIANA. GEORGIANA turns to STEVE.] No, Georgy! You mustn't blame Louise! I love her and always will, just as she is. She doesn't mean all she says now—she's angry, and she has a right to be—I'm one of those men who never succeed—who never have any luck, and it's bad luck for her to have to share mine.
GEORGIANA. Well, what's done's done? But, as Louise says, my money's left.
STEVEN. Yes, but—
GEORGIANA. Mine must do for all of us.
COAST. [Strongly.] Excuse me, but I'll see that Louise and her mother don't suffer; you keep your money.
GEORGIANA. No, that's not the point, Sam. I asked you once to give my brother advice and you refused. You might have prevented this, and now we can get along without your money. Steve won't have to go out of his own family to make up as far as he can for what he's lost out of yours.
[SAM turns away to the mantel.
STEVEN. Georgy! O Georgy! You're an angel! [Hugging her and kissing her in a transport of relief.] I'll get out of it, you'll see! I'll cover myself to-morrow. I can do that with your Croton Bonds and your Mutual Life and a couple of mortgages, and we'll win in the end, and Louise get hers back and mother too—! [His arm about his wife.] It's sure in the end, it's got to be, Louise.
[There is no response from LOUISE.
GEORGIANA. Steven, I have a condition about my money.
STEVEN. [Crestfallen.] What?
GEORGIANA. It isn't to be used as you think. If I'm to help you, it must be in my own way.
STEVEN. How do you mean?
GEORGIANA. What's lost is lost. I have between five and six hundred thousand dollars, and we must all live on the income of that. And you must give your word of honor never to gamble in stocks again.
[SAM comes back to front of table.
LOUISE. [To STEVEN, suddenly realizing it again.] You let all my money go?
GEORGIANA. [To LOUISE.] I will share what I have with you.
STEVEN. [To GEORGIANA.] But you must let me try to get back—
GEORGIANA. [Interrupting.] It would only be throwing good money after bad!
COAST. [Sardonically.] How about Moles and Lizzie?
GEORGIANA. Don't you worry about them! Moles and Lizzie shall have their money back, of course.
STEVEN. But I can't do it, Georgy. It's losing—why it's like losing a million to us!
GEORGIANA. Suppose you went on speculating with my money, and it went the same way as Louise's and her mother's?
COAST. And Lizzie's and Moles?
STEVEN. But it can't—it can't!
[STEVEN sits on the sofa. GEORGIANA sits beside STEVEN. LOUISE is still in the arm-chair Left.
GEORGIANA. O Steve! I've heard that so often. [A pause.] You were always a straight boy, Steve, and you always kept your word. Your notion of honor, it seems to me, in little things hasn't been so strong lately, as this fever of speculation grew on you, but still you are the same Steve and you've never lied about your transactions; so I have faith in you. Now let's settle this once and for all and my way!
STEVEN. It's very hard, Georgiana.
LOUISE. We can never all of us live on your income—not as we're used to.
GEORGIANA. That's true. Come, Steve. Give me your word never to go into another speculation and let's throw it off for to-day. Dick's coming to say good-by. Let's give him happy memories of us, at least to take away with him. [A moment's pause.] Come, Steve?
STEVEN. [Low voice.] All right.
GEORGIANA. No more speculating; you'll give me your word—[STEVEN rises, GEORGIANA rises. STEVEN nods his head.]—of honor, Steve?
[Nods his head.
GEORGIANA. Then that's settled.
[Gives SAM a calm, defiant look.
STEVEN. O Georgy! I don't seem grateful, but I am. I can't tell you! I can't say! But it's wonderful what you're doing! God bless you!
[Puts his arms on GEORGIANA'S shoulders.
GEORGIANA. [With emotion, almost breaking down.] That's all right, Steve. We'll begin all over again.
[She kisses him.
LOUISE. [To GEORGIANA.] I suppose I ought to thank you too.
GEORGIANA. No, don't bother. Come upstairs and have your hair shampooed. Bella must have painted mother red enough by now; it'll rest you and do you good.
LOUISE. After all, you're no real relation of ours, and you've done a fine thing.
GEORGIANA. [Very simply.] Don't talk about it. I wish it were more. I realize fully what it means to your mother and you to have all your money gone. But we'll put our shoulders to the wheel and make the best of it. Come, dear, come.
[She goes out Right. LOUISE is about to follow, but is stopped by STEVEN.
STEVEN. Louise, do you forgive me?
LOUISE. No, you ought to have asked my advice—let me know.
STEVEN. But when I used to talk to you about money matters, dear, you always begged me not to bother you.
LOUISE. I don't care, this is different. Sam!
COAST. Do you mind my joining you to see the procession go by at five?
[She goes out Right.
STEVEN. What procession?
COAST. Coleman's regiment.
[He puts his feet upon small gilt chair beside the table.
STEVEN. Oh, yes! Well—I've made a pretty big mess of things. I'm not fit to live, that's what's the trouble with me.
COAST. Oh, you must take everything in the day's work; but it's a pity she made you give her that promise.
COAST. [Goes to him.] You all can't live on the income from five hundred thousand dollars. Now there'll be a bust up sure!
STEVEN. Ss! that's all I need.
[Sits on the sofa.
COAST. That promise of yours to Georgiana's binding, ain't it?
STEVEN. [Looks up.] Of course. Why?
COAST. No why.
STEVEN. You think United Copper will go up again?
COAST. If not, I know something that will.
STEVEN. Something you're in yourself?
STEVEN. And you'd put me on?
COAST. Yep. I don't think there's any other way out of this for you all.
COAST. It's absolutely safe.
STEVEN. I could get it back? Some, anyway, of what I've lost?
STEVEN. But I gave Georgiana my word.
COAST. Of course she got that promise out of you because she thought you'd lose again.
STEVEN. Yes, but my word is my word.
COAST. Do you suppose she'd mind, if you won, won back Louise's money, won back the girl's happiness?
STEVEN. Suppose I tell her what you can do and ask her to let me off this once?
COAST. No, women don't understand business. She wouldn't realize I can know I'd win, any more than you feel sure and lose.
STEVEN. Yes, it would do no good to ask her.
COAST. Too bad, because I'd guarantee you wouldn't lose, not this deal. Of course I wouldn't be responsible for any future transaction.
STEVEN. But I'd be satisfied with this one, if I got back my losses.
COAST. I don't say you'd get back all, in one deal, but a good start which might turn your luck.
STEVEN. It's always like that; I've known such cases over and over again. But I've never yet broken my word to Georgiana,—somehow or other I feel as if I did that once I wouldn't have any hold over myself.
COAST. I don't suppose you could get at her securities anyway this afternoon?
STEVEN. Oh, yes, I could. We have our deposit box together.
COAST. Don't you think she'd forgive you when it means such a lot to Louise and her mother?
STEVEN. Why shouldn't she?
COAST. Why don't you risk it? That promise was just to keep you from losing, and this time I'll see you don't lose—so why not?
STEVEN. By George, I will! Georgiana really can't blame me when there's so much at stake.
COAST. Can you get the stuff to-day?
STEVEN. [Looks at his watch.] Yes, if I hurry.
COAST. All right, go ahead. I'll come to your office to-morrow at nine. Listen—I ain't supposed, of course, to have anything to do with this—and when you get it, don't go giving my tip to other chumps.
STEVEN. Oh, no.
COAST. What you do is on your own responsibility?
STEVEN. Exactly, only you guarantee?
COAST. That you don't lose this time. [Looking at his watch.] You'd better hurry.
STEVEN. Thank you, Sam.
[Shakes his hand.
COAST. Oh, that's all right. Say, I want to marry your sister. No objection on your part, is there?
STEVEN. Well, I should say not!
COAST. She don't seem to cotton to me.
STEVEN. She doesn't know you.
COAST. Do you think if she was up a tree for funds she'd look at me any kinder?
STEVEN. Not a bit.
COAST. Some women do.
STEVEN. Not Georgiana! Good-by.
COAST. [To STEVE.] So long.
[STEVEN turns to go, but stops as MOLES shows COLEMAN into the room. The latter is dressed in his uniform of first lieutenant.
DICK. Hello, Steven! Hello, Coast!
COAST. We gates!
STEVEN. How are you, Dick? Excuse me, I'm in a hurry. You're off to-day?
DICK. Yes, I've come to shake hands.
STEVEN. Good-by, old man, and good luck—sorry to have to go! Good-by!
[Shakes hands warmly, with feeling.
[STEVEN goes out Left.
COAST. [Sitting Right.] Oh, I guess she ain't so different.
COAST. Georgiana, she's just a woman!
DICK. No, take my word for it, she's not a woman, she's the woman.
[Sits on the piano bench.
COAST. 'Spose she likes money and nice things always about her?
DICK. She's always had them,—and always would if I could help give them to her.
COAST. Huh, huh! Well—say, Steve's got himself in a devil of a hole! Speculated with his wife's money—and they're broke.
DICK. Good God, what do you mean?
COAST. What I say. Steve is one of those good-hearted gulls who's a blame slob on the money market, and he's gone under to the extent of Aunt Laura's and Louise's spondulix, that's all.
[He is rather amused. DICK goes back of table, puts his hat on it.
DICK. What are they going to do?
COAST. Georgiana wants to pony up like a brick and keep the whole lot!
DICK. Just like her!
COAST. Oh, of course, I'll see Georgiana don't really lose by it in no way in the end.
DICK. You will?
COAST. Why of course!
DICK. She isn't going to let Steve speculate with her money, is she?
COAST. Can't say.
DICK. Look here, I'd like to help Steve myself, if I thought I could protect Georgiana. I'll let Steve have some money. You needn't say anything to anybody. How much will see him through?
COAST. That's real good of you, but I couldn't let outsiders help 'em.
DICK. I'm not exactly an outsider; and the truth is, Coast, I'd give anything to have the right to help Georgiana. [A silence.] Look here. I'm going to ask you a question, straight out!
COAST. Fire ahead!
[Looks at DICK with a perfectly blank face.
DICK. Anything between you and Georgiana?
COAST. [After a short pause.] There is—
DICK. Mrs. Carley hinted as much.
COAST. [Unflinchingly.] I'm—er—I'm going to marry Georgiana.
[A pause. COAST looks DICK in the eye, then away.
DICK. Congratulate you, Coast! [Shakes his hand.] She's worth even more than you can give her!
COAST. That's right!
[COAST goes out on the balcony and whistles "Congo." DICK walks away and turns his back. DICK goes to the mantel and takes up a picture of GEORGIANA, looks at it, takes it out of the frame, and seeing that COAST isn't observing, puts it in his breast pocket. He turns round with a pathetic sort of half-laughing exclamation to COAST.
DICK. I say, Coast. [COAST comes in from the balcony.] I've been in love with Georgiana for years.
COAST. That don't surprise me!
[COAST sits on the piano bench.
DICK. I never realized it until the other day, when I found I was going to leave her, and—perhaps—not coming back, and then I found boy friendship had sort of grown up into a man's love—I almost told her—[Pause.] I wonder if I'd found it out sooner—before you came along—
COAST. No use shutting the stable door after the horse is swiped!
DICK. I shan't be able to say exactly what I wanted to to Georgiana—but that's—your luck—I guess the quicker I can say good-by and get out, the better for me—
COAST. Listen—don't say anything to Georgiana about her and me, will you, unless of course she tells you—we're not talking about it yet.