Meet us on:
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Act IV

    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode
    Chapter 4
    Previous Chapter

    The Other Island



    Some months have elapsed, and we have again the honour of waiting
    upon Lord Loam in his London home. It is the room of the first act,
    but with a new scheme of decoration, for on the walls are exhibited
    many interesting trophies from the island, such as skins, stuffed
    birds, and weapons of the chase, labelled 'Shot by Lord Loam,' 'Hon.
    Ernest Woolley's Blowpipe' etc. There are also two large glass cases
    containing other odds and ends, including, curiously enough, the
    bucket in which Ernest was first dipped, but there is no label
    calling attention to the incident. It is not yet time to dress for
    dinner, and his lordship is on a couch, hastily yet furtively
    cutting the pages of a new book. With him are his two younger
    daughters and his nephew, and they also are engaged in literary
    pursuits; that is to say, the ladies are eagerly but furtively
    reading the evening papers, of which Ernest is sitting complacently
    but furtively on an endless number, and doling them out as called
    for. Note the frequent use of the word 'furtive.' It implies that
    they do not wish to be discovered by their butler, say, at their
    otherwise delightful task.

    AGATHA (reading aloud, with emphasis on the wrong words'). 'In
    conclusion, we most heartily congratulate the Hon. Ernest Woolley.
    This book of his, regarding the adventures of himself and his brave
    companions on a desert isle, stirs the heart like a trumpet.'

    (Evidently the book referred to is the one in LORD LOAM'S hands.)

    ERNEST (handing her a pink paper). Here is another.

    CATHERINE (reading). 'From the first to the last of Mr. Woolley's
    engrossing pages it is evident that he was an ideal man to be
    wrecked with, and a true hero.' (Large-eyed.) Ernest!

    ERNEST (calmly). That's how it strikes them, you know. Here's
    another one.

    AGATHA (reading). 'There are many kindly references to the two
    servants who were wrecked with the family, and Mr. Woolley pays the
    butler a glowing tribute in a footnote.'

    (Some one coughs uncomfortably.)

    LORD LOAM (who has been searching the index for the letter L).
    Excellent, excellent. At the same time I must say, Ernest, that the
    whole book is about yourself.

    ERNEST (genially). As the author--

    LORD LOAM. Certainly, certainly. Still, you know, as a peer of the
    realm--(with dignity)--I think, Ernest, you might have given me one
    of your adventures.

    ERNEST. I say it was you who taught us how to obtain a fire by
    rubbing two pieces of stick together.

    LORD LOAM (beaming). Do you, do you? I call that very handsome. What
    page?

    (Here the door opens, and the well-bred CRICHTON enters with the
    evening papers as subscribed for by the house. Those we have already
    seen have perhaps been introduced by ERNEST up his waistcoat. Every
    one except the intruder is immediately self-conscious, and when he
    withdraws there is a general sigh of relief. They pounce on the new
    papers. ERNEST evidently gets a shock from one, which he casts
    contemptuously on the floor.)

    AGATHA (more fortunate). Father, see page 81. 'It was a tiger-cat,'
    says Mr. Woolley, 'of the largest size. Death stared Lord Loam in
    the face, but he never flinched.'

    LORD LOAM (searching his book eagerly). Page 81.

    AGATHA. 'With presence of mind only equalled by his courage, he
    fixed an arrow in his bow.'

    LORD LOAM. Thank you, Ernest; thank you, my boy.

    AGATHA. 'Unfortunately he missed.'

    LORD LOAM. Eh?

    AGATHA. 'But by great good luck I heard his cries'--

    LORD LOAM. My cries?

    AGATHA.--'and rushing forward with drawn knife, I stabbed the
    monster to the heart.'

    (LORD LOAM shuts his book with a pettish slam. There might be a
    scene here were it not that CRICHTON reappears and goes to one of
    the glass cases. All are at once on the alert and his lordship is
    particularly sly.)

    LORD LOAM. Anything in the papers, Catherine?

    CATHERINE. No, father, nothing--nothing at all.

    ERNEST (it pops out as of yore). The papers! The papers are guides
    that tell us what we ought to do, and then we don't do it.

    (CRICHTON having opened the glass case has taken out the bucket, and
    ERNEST, looking round for applause, sees him carrying it off and is
    undone. For a moment of time he forgets that he is no longer on the
    island, and with a sigh he is about to follow CRICHTON and the
    bucket to a retired spot. The door closes, and ERNEST comes to
    himself.)

    LORD LOAM (uncomfortably). I told him to take it away.

    ERNEST. I thought--(he wipes his brow)--I shall go and dress. (He
    goes.)

    CATHERINE. Father, it's awful having Crichton here. It's like living
    on tiptoe.

    LORD LOAM (gloomily). While he is here we are sitting on a volcano.

    AGATHA. How mean of you! I am sure he has only stayed on with us to
    --to help us through. It would have looked so suspicious if he had
    gone at once.

    CATHERINE (revelling in the worst) But suppose Lady Brocklehurst
    were to get at him and pump him. She's the most terrifying,
    suspicious old creature in England; and Crichton simply can't
    tell a lie.

    LORD LOAM. My dear, that is the volcano to which I was referring.
    (He has evidently something to communicate.) It's all Mary's fault.
    She said to me yesterday that she would break her engagement with
    Brocklehurst unless I told him about--you know what.

    (All conjure up the vision of CRICHTON.)

    AGATHA. Is she mad?

    LORD LOAM. She calls it common honesty.

    CATHERINE. Father, have you told him?

    LORD LOAM (heavily). She thinks I have, but I couldn't. She's sure
    to find out to-night.

    (Unconsciously he leans on the island concertina, which he has
    perhaps been lately showing to an interviewer as something he made
    for TWEENY. It squeaks, and they all jump.)

    CATHERINE. It's like a bird of ill-omen.

    LORD LOAM (vindictively). I must have it taken away; it has done
    that twice.

    (LADY MARY comes in. She is in evening dress. Undoubtedly she meant
    to sail in, but she forgets, and despite her garments it is a manly
    entrance. She is properly ashamed of herself. She tries again, and
    has an encouraging success. She indicates to her sisters that she
    wishes to be alone with papa.)

    AGATHA. All right, but we know what it's about. Come along, Kit.

    (They go. LADY MARY thoughtlessly sits like a boy, and again
    corrects herself. She addresses her father, but he is in a brown
    study, and she seeks to draw his attention by whistling. This
    troubles them both.)

    LADY MARY. How horrid of me!

    LORD LOAM (depressed). If you would try to remember--

    LADY MARY (sighing). I do; but there are so many things to remember.

    LORD LOAM (sympathetically). There are--(in a whisper). Do you know,
    Mary, I constantly find myself secreting hairpins.

    LADY MARY. I find it so difficult to go up steps one at a time.

    LORD LOAM. I was dining with half a dozen members of our party last
    Thursday, Mary, and they were so eloquent that I couldn't help
    wondering all the time how many of their heads he would have put in
    the bucket.

    LADY MARY. I use so many of his phrases. And my appetite is so
    scandalous. Father, I usually have a chop before we sit down to
    dinner.

    LORD LOAM. As for my clothes--(wriggling). My dear, you can't think
    how irksome collars are to me nowadays.

    LADY MARY. They can't be half such an annoyance, father, as--(She
    looks dolefully at her skirt.)

    LORD LOAM (hurriedly). Quite so--quite so. You have dressed early
    to-night, Mary.

    LADY MARY. That reminds me; I had a note from Brocklehurst saying
    that he would come a few minutes before his mother as--as he wanted
    to have a talk with me. He didn't say what about, but of course we
    know. (His lordship fidgets.) (With feeling.) It was good of you to
    tell him, father. Oh, it is horrible to me--(covering her face). It
    seemed so natural at the time.

    LORD LOAM (petulantly). Never again make use of that word in this
    house, Mary.

    LADY MARY (with an effort). Father, Brocklehurst has been so loyal
    to me for these two years that I should despise myself were I to
    keep my--my extraordinary lapse from him. Had Brocklehurst been a
    little less good, then you need not have told him my strange little
    secret.

    LORD LOAM (weakly). Polly--I mean Mary--it was all Crichton's fault,
    he--

    LADY MARY (with decision). No, father, no; not a word against him
    though. I haven't the pluck to go on with it; I can't even
    understand how it ever was. Father, do you not still hear the surf?
    Do you see the curve of the beach?

    LORD LOAM. I have begun to forget--(in a low voice). But they were
    happy days; there was something magical about them.

    LADY MARY. It was glamour. Father, I have lived Arabian nights. I
    have sat out a dance with the evening star. But it was all in a past
    existence, in the days of Babylon, and I am myself again. But he has
    been chivalrous always. If the slothful, indolent creature I used to
    be has improved in any way, I owe it all to him. I am slipping back
    in many ways, but I am determined not to slip back altogether--in
    memory of him and his island. That is why I insisted on your telling
    Brocklehurst. He can break our engagement if he chooses. (Proudly.)
    Mary Lasenby is going to play the game.

    LORD LOAM. But my dear--

    (LORD BROCKLEHURST is announced.)

    LADY MARY (meaningly). Father, dear, oughtn't you to be dressing?

    LORD LOAM (very unhappy). The fact is--before I go--I want to say--

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Loam, if you don't mind, I wish very specially to
    have a word with Mary before dinner.

    LORD LOAM. But--

    LADY MARY. Yes, father. (She induces him to go, and thus
    courageously faces LORD BROCKLEHURST to hear her fate.) I am ready,
    George.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (who is so agitated that she ought to see he is
    thinking not of her but of himself). It is a painful matter--I wish
    I could have spared you this, Mary.

    LADY MARY. Please go on.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. In common fairness, of course, this should be
    remembered, that two years had elapsed. You and I had no reason to
    believe that we should ever meet again.

    (This is more considerate than she had expected.)

    LADY MARY (softening). I was so lost to the world, George.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (with a groan). At the same time, the thing is
    utterly and absolutely inexcusable--

    LADY MARY (recovering her hauteur). Oh!

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. And so I have already said to mother.

    LADY MARY (disdaining him). You have told her?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Certainly, Mary, certainly; I tell mother
    everything.

    LADY MARY (curling her lip). And what did she say?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. To tell the truth, mother rather pooh-poohed the
    whole affair.

    LADY MARY (incredulous). Lady Brocklehurst pooh-poohed the whole
    affair!

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. She said, 'Mary and I will have a good laugh over
    this.'

    LADY MARY (outraged). George, your mother is a hateful, depraved old
    woman.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Mary!

    LADY MARY (turning away). Laugh indeed, when it will always be such
    a pain to me.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (with strange humility). If only you would let me
    bear all the pain, Mary.

    LADY MARY (who is taken aback). George, I think you are the noblest
    man--

    (She is touched, and gives him both her hands. Unfortunately he
    simpers.)

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. She was a pretty little thing. (She stares, but
    he marches to his doom.) Ah, not beautiful like you. I assure you it
    was the merest flirtation; there were a few letters, but we have got
    them back. It was all owing to the boat being so late at Calais. You
    see she had such large, helpless eyes.

    LADY MARY (fixing him). George, when you lunched with father to-day
    at the club--

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. I didn't. He wired me that he couldn't come.

    LADY MARY (with a tremor). But he wrote you?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. No.

    LADY MARY (a bird singing in her breast). You haven't seen him
    since?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. No.

    (She is saved. Is he to be let off also? Not at all. She bears down
    on him like a ship of war.)

    LADY MARY. George, who and what is this woman?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (cowering). She was--she is--the shame of it--a
    lady's-maid.

    LADY MARY (properly horrified). A what?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. A lady's-maid. A mere servant, Mary. (LADY MARY
    whirls round so that he shall not see her face.) I first met her at
    this house when you were entertaining the servants; so you see it
    was largely your father's fault.

    LADY MARY (looking him up and down). A lady's-maid?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (degraded). Her name was Fisher.

    LADY MARY. My maid!

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (with open hands). Can you forgive me, Mary?

    LADY MARY. Oh George, George!

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Mother urged me not to tell you anything about
    it; but--

    LADY MARY (from her heart). I am so glad you told me.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. You see there was nothing wrong in it.

    LADY MARY (thinking perhaps of another incident). No, indeed.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (inclined to simper again). And she behaved
    awfully well. She quite saw that it was because the boat was late. I
    suppose the glamour to a girl in service of a man in high position--

    LADY MARY. Glamour!--yes, yes, that was it.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Mother says that a girl in such circumstances is
    to be excused if she loses her head.

    LADY MARY (impulsively). George, I am so sorry if I said anything
    against your mother. I am sure she is the dearest old thing.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (in calm waters at last). Of course for women of
    our class she has a very different standard.

    LADY MARY (grown tiny). Of course.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. You see, knowing how good a woman she is herself,
    she was naturally anxious that I should marry some one like her.
    That is what has made her watch your conduct so jealously, Mary.

    LADY MARY (hurriedly thinking things out). I know. I--I think,
    George, that before your mother comes I should like to say a word to
    father.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (nervously). About this?

    LADY MARY. Oh no; I shan't tell him of this. About something else.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. And you do forgive me, Mary?

    LADY MARY (smiling on him). Yes, yes. I--I am sure the boat was very
    late, George.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (earnestly). It really was.

    LADY MARY. I am even relieved to know that you are not quite
    perfect, dear. (She rests her hands on his shoulders. She has a
    moment of contrition.) George, when we are married, we shall try to
    be not an entirely frivolous couple, won't we? We must endeavour to
    be of some little use, dear.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (the ass). Noblesse oblige.

    LADY MARY (haunted by the phrases of a better man). Mary Lasenby is
    determined to play the game, George.

    (Perhaps she adds to herself, 'Except just this once.' A kiss closes
    this episode of the two lovers; and soon after the departure of LADY
    MARY the COUNTESS OF BROCKLEHURST is announced. She is a very
    formidable old lady.)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Alone, George?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Mother, I told her all; she has behaved
    magnificently.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (who has not shared his fears). Silly boy. (She
    casts a supercilious eye on the island trophies.) So these are the
    wonders they brought back with them. Gone away to dry her eyes, I
    suppose?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (proud of his mate). She didn't cry, mother.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. No? (She reflects.) You're quite right. I
    wouldn't have cried. Cold, icy. Yes, that was it.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (who has not often contradicted her). I assure
    you, mother, that wasn't it at all. She forgave me at once.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (opening her eyes sharply to the full). Oh!

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. She was awfully nice about the boat being late;
    she even said she was relieved to find that I wasn't quite perfect.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (pouncing). She said that?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. She really did.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. I mean I wouldn't. Now if I had said that, what
    would have made me say it? (Suspiciously.) George, is Mary all we
    think her?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (with unexpected spirit). If she wasn't, mother,
    you would know it.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Hold your tongue, boy. We don't really know what
    happened on that island.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. You were reading the book all the morning.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. How can I be sure that the book is true?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. They all talk of it as true.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. How do I know that they are not lying?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Why should they lie?

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Why shouldn't they? (She reflects again.) If I
    had been wrecked on an island, I think it highly probable that I
    should have lied when I came back. Weren't some servants with them?

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Crichton, the butler. (He is surprised to see her
    ring the bell.) Why, mother, you are not going to--

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Yes, I am. (Pointedly.) George, watch whether
    Crichton begins any of his answers to my questions with 'The fact
    is.'

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Why?

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Because that is usually the beginning of a lie.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (as CRICHTON opens the door). Mother, you can't do
    these things in other people's houses.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (coolly, to CRICHTON). It was I who rang.
    (Surveying him through her eyeglass.) So you were one of the
    castaways, Crichton?

    CRICHTON. Yes, my lady.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Delightful book Mr. Woolley has written about
    your adventures. (CRICHTON bows.) Don't you think so?

    CRICHTON. I have not read it, my lady.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Odd that they should not have presented you with
    a copy.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Presumably Crichton is no reader.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. By the way, Crichton, were there any books on the
    island?

    CRICHTON. I had one, my lady--Henley's poems.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Never heard of him.

    (CRICHTON again bows.)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (who has not heard of him either). I think you
    were not the only servant wrecked?

    CRICHTON. There was a young woman, my lady.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. I want to see her. (CRICHTON bows, but remains.)
    Fetch her up. (He goes.)

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (almost standing up to his mother). This is
    scandalous.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (defining her position). I am a mother.

    (CATHERINE and AGATHA enter in dazzling confections, and quake in
    secret to find themselves practically alone with LADY BROCKLEHURST.)

    (Even as she greets them.) How d'you do, Catherine--Agatha? You
    didn't dress like this on the island, I expect! By the way, how did
    you dress?

    (They have thought themselves prepared, but--)

    AGATHA. Not--not so well, of course, but quite the same idea.

    (They are relieved by the arrival of TREHERNE, who is in clerical
    dress.)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. How do you do, Mr. Treherne? There is not so much
    of you in the book as I had hoped.

    TREHERNE (modestly). There wasn't very much of me on the island,
    Lady Brocklehurst.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. How d'ye mean? (He shrugs his honest shoulders.)

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. I hear you have got a living, Treherne.
    Congratulations.

    TREHERNE. Thanks.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Is it a good one?

    TREHERNE. So--so. They are rather weak in bowling, but it's a good
    bit of turf. (Confidence is restored by the entrance of ERNEST, who
    takes in the situation promptly, and, of course, knows he is a match
    for any old lady.)

    ERNEST (with ease). How do you do, Lady Brocklehurst.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Our brilliant author!

    ERNEST (impervious to satire). Oh, I don't know.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. It is as engrossing, Mr. Woolley, as if it were a
    work of fiction.

    ERNEST (suddenly uncomfortable). Thanks, awfully. (Recovering.) The
    fact is--(He is puzzled by seeing the Brocklehurst family exchange
    meaning looks.)

    CATHERINE (to the rescue). Lady Brocklehurst, Mr. Treherne and I--we
    are engaged.

    AGATHA. And Ernest and I.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (grimly). I see, my dears; thought it wise to keep
    the island in the family.

    (An awkward moment this for the entrance of LORD LOAM and LADY MARY,
    who, after a private talk upstairs, are feeling happy and secure.)

    LORD LOAM (with two hands for his distinguished guest). Aha! ha, ha!
    younger than any of them, Emily.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Flatterer. (To LADY MARY.) You seem in high
    spirits, Mary.

    LADY MARY (gaily). I am.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (with a significant glance at LORD BROCKLEHURST).
    After--

    LADY MARY. I--I mean. The fact is--

    (Again that disconcerting glance between the Countess and her son.)

    LORD LOAM (humorously). She hears wedding bells, Emily, ha, ha!

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (coldly). Do you, Mary? Can't say I do; but I'm
    hard of hearing.

    LADY MARY (instantly her match). If you don't, Lady Brocklehurst,
    I'm sure I don't.

    LORD LOAM (nervously). Tut, tut. Seen our curios from the island,
    Emily; I should like you to examine them.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Thank you, Henry. I am glad you say that, for I
    have just taken the liberty of asking two of them to step upstairs.
    (There is an uncomfortable silence, which the entrance of CRICHTON
    with TWEENY does not seem to dissipate. CRICHTON is impenetrable,
    but TWEENY hangs back in fear.)

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (stoutly). Loam, I have no hand in this.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (undisturbed). Pooh, what have I done? You always
    begged me to speak to the servants, Henry, and I merely wanted to
    discover whether the views you used to hold about equality were
    adopted on the island; it seemed a splendid opportunity, but Mr.
    Woolley has not a word on the subject.

    (All eyes turn to ERNEST.)

    ERNEST (with confidence). The fact is--

    (The fatal words again.)

    LORD LOAM (not quite certain what he is to assure her of). I assure
    you, Emily--

    LADY MARY (as cold as steel). Father, nothing whatever happened on
    the island of which I, for one, am ashamed, and I hope Crichton will
    be allowed to answer Lady Brocklehurst's questions.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. To be sure. There's nothing to make a fuss about,
    and we're a family party. (To CRICHTON.) Now, truthfully, my man.

    CRICHTON (calmly). I promise that, my lady.

    (Some hearts sink, the hearts that could never understand a
    Crichton.)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (sharply). Well, were you all equal on the island?

    CRICHTON. No, my lady. I think I may say there was as little
    equality there as elsewhere.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Ah the social distinctions were preserved?

    CRICHTON. As at home, my lady.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. The servants?

    CRICHTON. They had to keep their place.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Wonderful. How was it managed? (With an
    inspiration.) You, girl, tell me that?

    (Can there be a more critical moment?)

    TWEENY (in agony). If you please, my lady, it was all the Gov.'s
    doing.

    (They give themselves up for lost. LORD LOAM tries to sink out of
    sight.)

    CRICHTON. In the regrettable slang of the servants' hall, my lady,
    the master is usually referred to as the Gov.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. I see. (She turns to LORD LOAM.) You--

    LORD LOAM (reappearing). Yes, I understand that is what they call
    me.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (to CRICHTON). You didn't even take your meals
    with the family?

    CRICHTON. No, my lady, I dined apart.

    (Is all safe?)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (alas). You, girl, also? Did you dine with
    Crichton?

    TWEENY (scared). No, your ladyship.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (fastening on her). With whom?

    TWEENY. I took my bit of supper with--with Daddy and Polly and the
    rest.

    (Vae victis.)

    ERNEST (leaping into the breach). Dear old Daddy--he was our monkey.
    You remember our monkey, Agatha?

    AGATHA. Rather! What a funny old darling he was.

    CATHERINE (thus encouraged). And don't you think Polly was the
    sweetest little parrot, Mary?

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Ah! I understand; animals you had domesticated?

    LORD LOAM (heavily). Quite so--quite so.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. The servants' teas that used to take place here
    once a month--

    CRICHTON. They did not seem natural on the island, my lady, and were
    discontinued by the Gov.'s orders.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. A clear proof, Loam, that they were a mistake
    here.

    LORD LOAM (seeing the opportunity for a diversion). I admit it
    frankly. I abandon them. Emily, as the result of our experiences on
    the island, I think of going over to the Tories.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. I am delighted to hear it.

    LORD LOAM (expanding). Thank you, Crichton, thank you; that is all.

    (He motions to them to go, but the time is not yet.)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. One moment. (There is a universal but stifled
    groan.) Young people, Crichton, will be young people, even on an
    island; now, I suppose there was a certain amount of--shall we say
    sentimentalising, going on?

    CRICHTON. Yes, my lady, there was.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST (ashamed). Mother!

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (disregarding him). Which gentleman? (To TWEENY)
    You, girl, tell me.

    TWEENY (confused). If you please, my lady--

    ERNEST (hurriedly). The fact is--(He is checked as before, and
    probably says 'D--n' to himself, but he has saved the situation.)

    TWEENY (gasping). It was him--Mr. Ernest, your ladyship.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (counsel for the prosecution). With which lady?

    AGATHA. I have already told you, Lady Brocklehurst, that Ernest and
    I--

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Yes, now; but you were two years on the island.
    (Looking at LADY MARY). Was it this lady?

    TWEENY. No, your ladyship.

    LADY BROCKLEHURST. Then I don't care which of the others it was.
    (TWEENY gurgles.) Well, I suppose that will do.

    LORD BROCKLEHURST. Do! I hope you are ashamed of yourself, mother.
    (To CRICHTON, who is going). You are an excellent fellow, Crichton;
    and if, after we are married, you ever wish to change your place,
    come to us.

    LADY MARY (losing her head for the only time). Oh no, impossible--

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (at once suspicious). Why impossible? (LADY MARY
    cannot answer, or perhaps she is too proud.) Do you see why it
    should be impossible, my man?

    (He can make or mar his unworthy MARY now. Have you any doubt of
    him?)

    CRICHTON. Yes, my lady. I had not told you, my lord, but as soon as
    your lordship is suited I wish to leave service. (They are all
    immensely relieved, except poor TWEENY.)

    TREHERNE (the only curious one). What will you do, Crichton?
    (CRICHTON shrugs his shoulders; 'God knows', it may mean.)

    CRICHTON. Shall I withdraw, my lord? (He withdraws without a tremor,
    TWEENY accompanying him. They can all breathe again; the
    thunderstorm is over.)

    LADY BROCKLEHURST (thankful to have made herself unpleasant). Horrid
    of me, wasn't it? But if one wasn't disagreeable now and again, it
    would be horribly tedious to be an old woman. He will soon be yours,
    Mary, and then--think of the opportunities you will have of being
    disagreeable to me. On that understanding, my dear, don't you think
    we might--? (Their cold lips meet.)

    LORD LOAM (vaguely). Quite so--quite so. (CRICHTON announces dinner,
    and they file out. LADY MARY stays behind a moment and impulsively
    holds out her hand.)

    LADY MARY. To wish you every dear happiness.

    CRICHTON (an enigma to the last.) The same to you, my lady.

    LADY MARY. Do you despise me, Crichton? (The man who could never
    tell a lie makes no answer.) You are the best man among us.

    CRICHTON. On an island, my lady, perhaps; but in England, no.

    LADY MARY. Then there's something wrong with England.

    CRICHTON. My lady, not even from you can I listen to a word against
    England.

    LADY MARY. Tell me one thing: you have not lost your courage?

    CRICHTON. No, my lady.

    (She goes. He turns out the lights.)
    Chapter 4
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a James M. Barrie essay and need some advice, post your James M. Barrie essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?