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    Act III

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    Chapter 3
    Previous Chapter
    We are back in the room of the diary. The diary itself is not
    visible; it is tucked away in the drawer, taking a nap while it may,
    for it has much to chronicle before cockcrow. Cosmo also is asleep, on
    an ingenious arrangement of chairs. Ginevra is sitting bolt upright, a
    book on her knee, but she is not reading it. She is seeing visions in
    which Amy plays a desperate part. The hour is late; every one ought to
    be in bed.

    Cosmo is perhaps dreaming that he is back at Osborne, for he calls
    out, as if in answer to a summons, that he is up and nearly dressed.
    He then raises his head and surveys Ginevra.

    COSMO. 'Hullo, you've been asleep.'

    GINEVRA. 'How like a man.'

    COSMO. 'I say, I thought you were the one who had stretched herself
    out, and that I was sitting here very quiet, so as not to waken you.'

    GINEVRA. 'Let us leave it at that.'

    COSMO. 'Huffy, aren't you! Have they not come back yet?'

    GINEVRA. 'Not they. And half-past eleven has struck. I oughtn't to
    stay any longer; as it is, I don't know what my landlady will say.'

    She means that she does know.

    COSMO. 'I'll see you to your place whenever you like. My uniform will
    make it all right for you.'

    GINEVRA. 'You child. But I simply can't go till I know what has
    happened. Where, oh where, can they be?'

    COSMO. 'That's all right. Father told you he had a message from mother
    saying that they had gone to the theatre.'

    GINEVRA. 'But why?'

    COSMO. 'Yes, it seemed to bother him, too.'

    GINEVRA. 'The theatre. That is what she _said_.'

    Here Cosmo takes up a commanding position on the hearthrug; it could
    not be bettered unless with a cigar in the mouth.

    COSMO. 'Look here, Miss Dunbar, it may be that I have a little crow to
    pick with mother when she comes back, but I cannot allow anyone else
    to say a word against her. _Comprenez?_'

    Ginevra's reply is lost to the world because at this moment Amy's
    sparkling eyes show round the door. How softly she must have crossed
    the little hall!

    GINEVRA. 'Amy, at last!'

    AMY. 'Sh!' She speaks to some one unseen, 'There are only Ginevra and
    Cosmo here.'

    Thus encouraged Alice enters. Despite her demeanour they would see, if
    they knew her better, that she has been having a good time, and is in
    hopes that it is not ended yet. She comes in, as it were, under Amy's
    guidance. Ginevra is introduced, and Alice then looks to Amy for
    instructions what to do next.

    AMY, encouragingly, 'Sit down, mother.'

    ALICE. 'Where shall I sit, dear?' Amy gives her the nicest chair in
    the room. 'Thank you, Amy.' She is emboldened to address her son.
    'Where is your father, Cosmo?'

    Cosmo remembers his slap, and that he has sworn to converse with her
    no more. He indicates, however, that his father is in the room
    overhead. Alice meekly accepts the rebuff. 'Shall I go to him, Amy?'

    AMY, considerately, 'If you think you feel strong enough, mother.'

    ALICE. 'You have given me strength.'

    AMY. 'I am so glad.' She strokes her mother soothingly. '_What_ will you
    tell him?'

    ALICE. 'All, Amy--all, all.'

    AMY. 'Brave mother.'

    ALICE. 'Who could not be brave with such a daughter.' On reflection,
    'And with such a son.'

    Helped by encouraging words from Amy she departs on her perilous
    enterprise. The two conspirators would now give a handsome competence
    to Cosmo to get him out of the room. He knows it, and sits down.

    COSMO, 'I say, what is she going to tell father?'

    AMY, with a despairing glance at Ginevra, 'Oh, nothing.'

    GINEVRA, with a clever glance at Amy, 'Cosmo, you promised to see me

    COSMO, the polite, 'Right O.'

    GINEVRA. 'But you haven't got your boots on.'

    COSMO. 'I won't be a minute.' He pauses at the door. 'I say I believe
    you're trying to get rid of me. Look here, I won't budge till you tell
    me what mother is speaking about to father.'

    AMY. 'It is about the drawing-room curtains.'

    COSMO. 'Good lord!' As soon as he has gone they rush at each other;
    they don't embrace; they stop when their noses are an inch apart, and
    then talk. This is the stage way for lovers. It is difficult to
    accomplish without rubbing noses, but they have both been practising.

    GINEVRA. 'Quick, Amy, did you get the letters?'

    AMY. 'There are no letters.'

    Ginevra is so taken aback that her nose bobs. Otherwise the two are
    absolutely motionless. She cleverly recovers herself.

    GINEVRA. 'No letters; how unlike life. You are quite sure?'

    AMY. 'I have my mother's word for it.'

    GINEVRA. 'Is that enough?'

    AMY. 'And you now have mine.'

    GINEVRA. 'Then it hadn't gone far?'

    AMY. 'No, merely a painful indiscretion. But if father had known it--you
    know what husbands are.'

    GINEVRA. 'Yes, indeed. Did he follow her?'

    Amy nods. 'Did you hide?' Amy nods again.

    AMY. 'Worse than that, Ginevra. To deceive him I had to pretend that I
    was the woman. And now--Ginevra, can you guess?--' Here they have to
    leave off doing noses. On the stage it can be done for ever so much
    longer, but only by those who are paid accordingly.

    GINEVRA. 'You don't mean--?'

    AMY. 'I think I do, but what do you mean?'

    GINEVRA. 'I mean--the great thing.'

    AMY. 'Then it is, yes. Ginevra, I am affianced to the man, Steve!'
    Ginevra could here quickly drink a glass of water if there was one in
    the room.

    GINEVRA, wandering round her old friend, 'You seem the same, Amy, yet
    somehow different.'

    AMY, rather complacently, 'That is just how I feel. But I must not
    think of myself. They are overhead, Ginevra. There is an awful scene
    taking place--up there. She is telling father all.'

    GINEVRA. 'Confessing?'

    AMY. 'Everything--in a noble attempt to save me from a widowed

    GINEVRA. 'But I thought she was such a hard woman.'

    AMY. 'Not really. To the world perhaps; but I have softened her. All
    she needed, Ginevra, to bring out her finer qualities was a strong
    nature to lean upon; and she says that she has found it in me. At the
    theatre and all the way home--'

    GINEVRA. 'Then you did go to the theatre. Why?'

    AMY, feeling that Ginevra is very young, 'Need you ask? Oh, Ginevra,
    to see if we could find a happy ending. It was mother's idea.'

    GINEVRA. 'Which theatre?'

    AMY. 'I don't know, but the erring wife confessed all--in one of those
    mousselines de soie that are so fashionable this year; and mother and
    I sat--clasping each other's hands, praying it might end happily,
    though we didn't see how it could.'

    GINEVRA. 'How awful for you. What did the husband do?'

    AMY. 'He was very calm and white. He went out of the room for a
    moment, and came back so white. Then he sat down by the fire, and
    nodded his head three times.'

    GINEVRA. 'I think I know now which theatre it was.'

    AMY. 'He asked her coldly--but always the perfect gentleman----'

    GINEVRA. 'Oh, that theatre.'

    AMY. 'He asked her whether _he_ was to go or she.'

    GINEVRA. 'They must part?'

    AMY. 'Yes. She went on her knees to him, and said "Are we never to
    meet again?" and he replied huskily "Never." Then she turned and went
    slowly towards the door.'

    GINEVRA, clutching her, 'Amy, was that the end?'

    AMY. 'The audience sat still as death, listening for the awful _click_
    that brings the curtain down.'

    GINEVRA, shivering, 'I seem to hear it.'

    AMY. 'At that moment--'

    GINEVRA. 'Yes, yes?'

    AMY. 'The door opened, and, Ginevra, their little child--came in--in
    her night-gown.'

    GINEVRA. 'Quick.'

    AMY. 'She came toddling down the stairs--she was barefooted--she took
    in the whole situation at a glance--and, running to her father, she
    said, "Daddy, if mother goes away what is to become of me?"' Amy gulps
    and continues: 'And then she took a hand of each and drew them
    together till they fell on each other's breasts, and then--Oh,
    Ginevra, then--Click!--and the curtain fell.'

    GINEVRA, when they are more composed, 'How old was the child?'

    AMY. 'Five. She looked more.'

    GINEVRA, her brows knitted, 'Molly is under two, isn't she?'

    AMY. 'She is not quite twenty months.'

    GINEVRA. 'She couldn't possibly do it.'

    AMY. 'No; I thought of that. But she couldn't, you know, even though
    she was held up. Mother couldn't help thinking the scene was a good
    omen, though.' They both look at the ceiling again. 'How still they

    GINEVRA. 'Perhaps she hasn't had the courage to tell.'

    AMY. 'If so, I must go on with it.'

    GINEVRA, feeling rather small beside Amy, 'Marry him?'

    AMY. 'Yes. I must dree my weird. Is it dree your weird, or weird your

    GINEVRA. 'I think they both do.' She does not really care; nobler
    thoughts are surging within her. 'Amy, why can't I make some sacrifice
    as well as you?'

    Amy seems about to make a somewhat grudging reply, but the unexpected
    arrival of the man who has so strangely won her seals her lips.

    AMY. 'You!' with a depth of meaning, 'Oh, sir.'

    STEVE, the most nervous of the company, 'I felt I must come. Miss
    Grey, I am in the greatest distress, as the unhappy cause of all this

    AMY, coldly, 'You should have thought of that before.'

    STEVE. 'It was dense of me not to understand sooner--very dense.' He
    looks at her with wistful eyes. 'Must I marry you, Miss Grey?'

    AMY, curling her lip, 'Ah, that is what you are sorry for!'

    STEVE. 'Yes--horribly sorry.' Hastily, 'Not for myself. To tell you
    the truth, I'd be--precious glad to risk it--I think.'

    AMY, with a glance at Ginevra, 'You would?'

    STEVE. 'But very sorry for you. It seems such a shame to you--so young
    and attractive--and the little you know of me so--unfortunate.'

    AMY. 'You mean you could never love me?'

    STEVE. 'I don't mean that at all.'

    AMY. 'Ginevra!'

    Indeed Ginevra feels that she has been obliterated quite long enough.

    GINEVRA, with a touch of testiness in her tone, 'Amy--introduce me.'

    AMY. 'Mr. Stephen Rollo--Miss Dunbar. Miss Dunbar knows all.'

    Ginevra makes a movement that the cynical might describe as brushing
    Amy aside.

    GINEVRA. 'May I ask, Mr. Rollo, what are your views about woman?'

    STEVE. 'Really I--'

    GINEVRA. 'Is she, in your opinion, her husband's equal, or is she his

    STEVE. 'Honestly, I am so beside myself--'

    GINEVRA. 'You evade the question.'

    AMY. 'He means chattel, Ginevra.'

    GINEVRA. 'Mr. Rollo, I am the friend till death of Amy Grey. Let that
    poor child go, sir, and I am prepared to take her place beside you--Yes,
    at the altar's mouth.'

    AMY. 'Ginevra.'

    GINEVRA, making that movement again, 'Understand I can neither love
    nor honour you--at least at first--but I will obey you.'

    AMY. 'Ginevra, you take too much upon yourself.'

    GINEVRA. 'I _will_ make a sacrifice--I will.'

    AMY. 'You shall not.'

    GINEVRA. 'I feel that I understand this gentleman as no other woman
    can. It is my mission, Amy--' The return of Alice is what prevents
    Steve's seizing his hat and flying. It might not have had this effect
    had he seen the lady's face just before she opened the door.

    ALICE, putting her hand to her poor heart, 'You have come here, Steve?
    Oh no, it is not possible.'

    STEVE, looking things unutterable, 'How could I help coming?'

    AMY, to the rescue, 'Mother, have you--did you?'

    ALICE, meekly, 'I have told him all.'

    STEVE. 'The Colonel?'

    Alice bows her bruised head.

    AMY, conducting her to a seat, 'Brave, brave. What has he decided?'

    ALICE. 'He hasn't decided yet. He is thinking out what it will be best
    to do.'

    STEVE. 'He knows? Then I am no longer--' His unfinished sentence seems
    to refer to Amy.

    AMY, proudly, 'Yes, sir, as he knows, you are, as far as I am
    concerned, now free.'

    GINEVRA, in a murmur, 'It's almost a pity.' She turns to her Amy. 'At
    least, Amy, this makes you and me friends again.' We have never quite
    been able to understand what this meant, but Amy knows, for she puts
    Ginevra's hand to her sweet lips.

    ALICE, who somehow could do without Ginevra to-night, 'Cosmo is
    waiting for you, Miss Dunbar, to see you home.'

    GINEVRA, with a disquieting vision of her landlady, 'I must go.' She
    gives her hand in the coldest way to Mrs. Grey. Then, with a curtsey
    to Steve that he can surely never forget, 'Mr. Rollo, I am sure there
    is much good in you. Darling Amy, I shall be round first thing in the

    STEVE. 'Now that she has gone, can we--have a talk?'

    ALICE, looking down, 'Yes, Steve.'

    AMY, gently, 'Mother, what was that you called him?'

    ALICE. 'Dear Amy, I forgot. Yes, Mr. Rollo.'

    STEVE. 'Then, Alice--'

    AMY. 'This lady's name, if I am not greatly mistaken, is Mrs. Grey. Is
    it not so, mother?'

    ALICE. 'Yes, Amy.'

    STEVE. 'As you will; but it is most important that I say certain
    things to her at once.'

    ALICE. 'Oh, Mr. Rollo. What do you think, dear?'

    AMY, reflecting, 'If it be clearly understood that this is good-bye, I
    consent. Please be as brief as possible.'

    Somehow they think that she is moving to the door, but she crosses
    only to the other side of the room and sits down with a book. One of
    them likes this very much.

    STEVE, who is not the one, 'But I want to see her alone.'

    AMY, the dearest of little gaolers, 'That, I am afraid, I cannot
    permit. It is not that I have not perfect confidence in you, mother,
    but you must see I am acting wisely.'

    ALICE. 'Yes, Amy.'

    STEVE, to his Alice, 'What has come over you? You don't seem to be the
    same woman.'

    AMY. 'That is just it; she is not.'

    ALICE. 'I see now only through Amy's eyes.'

    AMY. 'They will not fail you, mother. Proceed, sir.'

    Steve has to make the best of it.

    STEVE. 'You told him, then, about your feelings for me?'

    ALICE, studying the carpet, 'He knows now exactly what are my feelings
    for you.'

    STEVE, huskily, 'How did he take it?'

    ALICE. 'Need you ask?'

    STEVE. 'Poor old boy. I suppose he wishes me to stay away from your
    house now.'

    ALICE. 'Is it unreasonable?'

    STEVE. 'No, of course not, but--'

    ALICE. 'Will it be terribly hard to you, St--Mr. Rollo?'

    STEVE. 'It isn't that. You see I'm fond of the Colonel, I really am,
    and it hurts me to think he thinks that I--It wasn't my fault, was

    AMY. 'Ungenerous.'

    ALICE. 'He quite understands that it was I who lost my head.'

    Steve is much moved by the generosity of this. He lowers his voice.

    STEVE. 'Of course I blame myself now; but I assure you honestly I had
    no idea of it until to-night. I had thought you were only my friend.
    It dazed me; but as I ransacked my mind many little things came back
    to me. I remembered what I hadn't noticed at the time--'

    AMY. 'Louder, please.'

    STEVE. 'I remembered--'

    AMY. 'Is this necessary?'

    ALICE. 'Please, Amy, let me know what he remembered.'

    STEVE. 'I remembered that your voice was softer to me than when you
    were addressing other men.'

    ALICE. 'Let me look long at you, Mr. Rollo.' She looks long at him.

    AMY. 'Mother, enough.'

    ALICE. 'What more do you remember?'

    STEVE. 'It is strange to me now that I didn't understand your true
    meaning to-day when you said I was the only man you couldn't flirt
    with; you meant that I aroused deeper feelings.'

    ALICE. 'How you know me.'

    AMY. 'Not the best of you, mother.'

    ALICE. 'No, not the best, Amy.'

    STEVE. 'I can say that I never thought of myself as possessing
    dangerous qualities. I thought I was utterly unattractive to women.'

    ALICE. 'You _must_ have known about your eyes.'

    STEVE, eagerly, 'My eyes? On my soul I didn't.'

    Amy wonders if this can be true. Alice rises. She feels that she
    cannot control herself much longer.

    ALICE. 'Steve, if you don't go away at once I shall scream.'

    STEVE, really unhappy, 'Is it as bad as that?'

    AMY, rising, 'You heard what Mrs. Grey said. This is very painful to
    her. Will you please say good-bye.'

    In the novel circumstances he does not quite know how this should be
    carried out.

    ALICE, also shy, 'How shall we do it, Amy? On the brow?'

    AMY. 'No, mother--with the hand.'

    They do it with the hand, and it is thus that the Colonel finds them.
    He would be unable to keep his countenance were it not for a warning
    look from Alice.

    COLONEL, one of the men who have a genius for saying the right
    thing, 'Ha.'

    STEVE. 'I am going, Colonel. I am very sorry that you----At the same
    time I wish you to understand that the fault is entirely mine.'

    COLONEL, guardedly, 'Ha.'

    AMY, putting an arm round her mother, who hugs it, 'Father, he came
    only to say goodbye. He is not a bad man, and mother has behaved

    COLONEL, cleverly, 'Ha.'

    AMY. 'You must not, you shall not, be cruel to her.'

    ALICE. 'Darling Amy.'

    COLONEL, truculently, 'Oh, mustn't I. We shall see about that.'

    STEVE. 'Come, come, Colonel.'

    COLONEL, doing better than might have been expected, 'Hold your
    tongue, sir.'

    AMY. 'I know mother as no other person can know her. I begin to think
    that you have no proper appreciation of her, father.'

    ALICE, basely, 'Dear, dear Amy.'

    AMY. 'I daresay she has often suffered in the past--'

    ALICE. 'Oh, Amy, oh.'

    AMY. 'By your--your callousness--your want of sympathy--your neglect.'

    ALICE. 'My beloved child.'

    COLONEL, uneasily, 'Alice, tell her it isn't so.'

    ALICE. 'You hear what he says, my pet.'

    AMY. 'But you don't deny it.'

    COLONEL. 'Deny it, woman.'

    ALICE. 'Robert, Robert.'

    AMY. 'And please not to call my mother "woman" in my presence.'

    COLONEL. 'I--I--I----' He looks for help from Alice, but she gives him
    only a twinkle of triumph. He barks, 'Child, go to your room.'

    AMY, her worst fears returning, 'But what are you going to do?'

    COLONEL. 'That is not your affair.'

    STEVE. 'I must say I don't see that.'

    AMY, gratefully, 'Thank you, Mr. Rollo.'

    COLONEL. 'Go to your room.'

    She has to go, but not till she has given her mother a kiss that is a
    challenge to the world. Then to the bewilderment of Steve two human
    frames are rocked with laughter.

    ALICE. 'Oh, Robert, look at him. He thinks I worship him.'

    COLONEL. 'Steve, you colossal puppy.'

    STEVE. 'Eh--what--why?'

    ALICE. 'Steve, tell Robert about my voice being softer to you than to
    other men; tell him, Steve, about your eyes.'

    The unhappy youth gropes mentally and physically.

    STEVE. 'Good heavens, was there nothing in it?'

    COLONEL. 'My boy, I'll never let you hear the end of this.'

    STEVE. 'But if there's nothing in it, how could your daughter have

    COLONEL. 'She saw you kiss Alice here this afternoon, you scoundrel,
    and, as she thought, make an _assignation_ with you. There, it
    all came out of that. She is a sentimental lady, is our Amy, and she
    has been too often to the theatre.'

    STEVE. 'Let me think.'

    COLONEL. 'Here is a chair for the very purpose. Now, think hard.'

    STEVE. 'But--but--then why did you pretend before her, Alice?'

    ALICE. 'Because she thinks that she has saved me, and it makes her so
    happy. Amy has a passionate desire to be of some use in this world she
    knows so well, and she already sees her sphere, Steve, it is to look
    after me. I am not to be her chaperone, it is she who is to be mine. I
    have submitted, you see.'

    COLONEL, fidgeting, 'She seems to have quite given me up for you.'

    ALICE, blandly, 'Oh yes, Robert, quite.'

    STEVE, gloomily, 'You will excuse my thinking only of myself. What an
    ass I've been.'

    ALICE. 'Is it a blow, Steve?'

    STEVE. 'It's a come down. Ass, ass, ass! But I say, Alice, I'm awfully
    glad it's I who have been the ass and not you. I really am, Colonel.
    You see the tragedy of my life is I'm such an extraordinarily ordinary
    sort of fellow that, though every man I know says some lady has loved
    him, there never in all my unromantic life was a woman who cared a
    Christmas card for me. It often makes me lonely; and so when I thought
    such a glorious woman as you, Alice--I lost touch of earth altogether;
    but now I've fallen back on it with a whack. But I'm glad--yes, I'm
    glad. You two kindest people Steve Rollo has ever known.--Oh, I say
    good-night. I suppose you can't overlook it, Alice.'

    ALICE. 'Oh, yes, you goose, I can. We are both fond of you--Mr.

    COLONEL. 'Come in, my boy, and make love to _me_ as often as you feel

    STEVE. 'I may still come to see you? I say, I'm awfully taken with
    your Amy.'

    COLONEL. 'None of that, Steve.'

    ALICE. '_We_ can drop in on you on the sly, Steve, to admire
    your orbs; but you mustn't come here--until Amy thinks it is safe for
    me.' When he has gone she adds, 'Until _I_ think it is safe for Amy.'

    COLONEL. 'When will that be?'

    ALICE. 'Not for some time.'

    COLONEL. 'He isn't a bad sort, Steve.'

    ALICE. 'Oh, no--she might even do worse some day. But she is to be my
    little girl for a long time first.'

    COLONEL. 'This will give him a sort of glamour to her, you know.'

    ALICE. 'You are not really thinking, Robert, that my Amy is to fall
    asleep to-night before she hears the whole true story. Could I sleep
    until she knows everything!'

    COLONEL. 'Stupid of me. I am a little like Steve in one way, though; I
    don't understand why you have kept it up so long.'

    ALICE. 'It isn't the first time you have thought me a harum-scarum.'

    COLONEL. 'It isn't.'

    ALICE. 'The sheer fun of it, Robert, went to my head, I suppose. And
    then, you see, the more Amy felt herself to be my protectress the more
    she seemed to love me. I am afraid I have a weakness for the short
    cuts to being loved.'

    COLONEL. 'I'm afraid you have. The one thing you didn't think of is
    that the more she loves you the less love she seems to have for me.'

    ALICE. 'How selfish of you, Robert.'

    COLONEL, suspiciously, 'Or was that all part of the plan?'

    ALICE. 'There was no plan; there wasn't time for one. But you were
    certainly rather horrid, Robert, in the way you gloated over me when
    you saw them take to you. I have been gloating a little perhaps in
    taking them from you.'

    COLONEL. 'Them? You are going a little too fast, my dear. I have still
    got Cosmo and Molly.'

    ALICE. 'For the moment.'

    COLONEL. 'Woman.'

    ALICE. 'Remember, Amy said you must not call me that.'

    He laughs as he takes her by the shoulders.

    'Yes, shake me; I deserve it.'

    COLONEL. 'You do, indeed,' and he shakes her with a ferocity that
    would have startled any sudden visitor. No wonder, then, that it is a
    shock to Cosmo, who comes blundering in. Alice is the first to see
    him, and she turns the advantage to unprincipled account.

    ALICE. 'Robert, don't hurt me. Oh, if Cosmo were to see you!'

    COSMO. 'Cosmo does see him.' He says it in a terrible voice. Probably
    Cosmo has been to a theatre or two himself.

    ALICE. 'You here, Cosmo!'

    She starts back from her assailant.

    COLONEL, feeling a little foolish, 'I didn't hear you come in.'

    COSMO, grimly, 'No, I'm sure you didn't.'

    COLONEL, testily, 'No heroics, my boy.'

    COSMO. 'Take care, father.' He stands between them, which makes his
    father suddenly grin. 'Laugh on, sir. I don't know what this row's
    about, but'--here his arm encircles an undeserving lady--'this lady is
    my mother, and I won't have her bullied. What's a father compared to a

    ALICE. 'Cosmo, darling Cosmo.'

    COLONEL, becoming alarmed, 'My boy, it was only a jest. Alice, tell
    him it was only a jest.'

    ALICE. 'He says it was only a jest, Cosmo.'

    COSMO. 'You are a trump to shield him, mother.' He kisses her openly,
    conscious that he is a bit of a trump himself, in which view Alice
    most obviously concurs.

    COLONEL, to his better half, 'You serpent.'

    COSMO. 'Sir, this language won't do.'

    COLONEL, exasperated, 'You go to bed, too.'

    ALICE. 'He has sent Amy to bed already. Try to love your father,
    Cosmo,' placing many kisses on the spot where he had been slapped.
    _Try for my sake_, and try to get Amy and Molly to do it, too.'
    Sweetly to her husband, 'They will love you in time, Robert; at
    present they can think only of me. Darling, I'll come and see you in

    COSMO. 'I don't like to leave you with him--'

    ALICE. 'Go, my own; I promise to call out if I need you.'

    On these terms Cosmo departs. The long-suffering husband, arms folded,
    surveys his unworthy spouse.

    COLONEL. 'You _are_ a hussy.'

    ALICE, meekly, 'I suppose I am.'

    COLONEL. 'Mind you, I am not going to stand Cosmo's thinking this of

    ALICE. 'As if I would allow it for another hour! You won't see much of
    me to-night, Robert. If I sleep at all it will be in Amy's room.'

    COLONEL, lugubriously, 'You will be taking Molly from me to-morrow.'

    ALICE. 'I feel hopeful that Molly, too, will soon be taking care of
    me.' She goes to him in her cajoling way: 'With so many chaperones,
    Robert, I ought to do well. Oh, my dear, don't think that I have
    learnt no lesson to-night.'

    COLONEL, smiling, 'Going to reform at last?'

    ALICE, the most serious of women, 'Yes, Robert. The Alice you have
    known is come to an end. To-morrow--'

    COLONEL. 'If she is different to-morrow I'll disown her.'

    ALICE. 'It's summer done, autumn begun. Farewell, summer, we don't
    know you any more. My girl and I are like the little figures in the
    weather-house; when Amy comes out, Alice goes in. Alice Sit-by-the-fire
    henceforth. The moon is full to-night, Robert, but it isn't looking for
    me any more. Taxis farewell--advance four-wheelers. I had a beautiful
    husband once, black as the raven was his hair--'

    COLONEL. 'Stop it.'

    ALICE. 'Pretty Robert, farewell. Farewell, Alice that was; it's all over,
    my dear. I always had a weakness for you; but now you must
    really go; make way there for the old lady.'

    COLONEL. 'Woman, you'll make me cry. Go to your Amy.'

    ALICE. 'Robert--'

    COLONEL. 'Go. Go. Go.'

    As he roars it Amy peeps in anxiously. She is in her nightgown, and
    her hair is down and her feet are bare, and she does not look so very
    much more than five. Alice is unable to resist the temptation.

    ALICE, wailing, 'Must I go, Robert?'

    AMY. 'Going away? Mother! Father, if mother goes away, what is to
    become of me?'

    She draws them together until their hands clasp. There is now a
    beatific smile on her face. The curtain sees that its time has come;
    it clicks, and falls.

    Chapter 3
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