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Title: The Cat and the Canary: A Melodrama in Three Acts
Author: John Willard
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
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Language: English
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: The Cat and the Canary: A Melodrama in Three Acts
Author: John Willard


*

1921

*

First performance of "THE CAT AND THE CANARY," as produced at the
National Theatre, New York, February 7, 1922.


THE PEOPLE IN THE PLAY

(In the order in which they speak.)

Mammy Pleasant, old negress.
Roger Crosby, the lawyer.
Harry Blythe.
Cicily Young.
Susan Sillsby.
Charlie Wilder.
Paul Jones.
Annabelle West.
Hendricks, guard at asylum.
Patterson.

[Editors note: See stage setting details and properties list at end of
script.]


*


SYNOPSIS

The action takes place at Glencliff Manor on the Hudson--is practically
continuous.

Act I: Library. Eleven-thirty. Night.

Act II: The next room. A few minutes later.

Act III: Library. A few minutes later.


*


ACT I

Scene: Library at Glencliff Manor.

Time: About eleven-thirty in the evening.

A large, old-fashioned room, full of dark corners and shadows. Door at
left. High-backed couch right, bookcases line the walls at back.

At Rise: Mammy enters--followed by Crosby.

Lights stage R. are on.

Crosby. (An old family lawyer. He looks at his watch) A little more
light, Mammy, please.

(Mammy lights lamp table l. Crosby looking around.) That's better.
Well, the old place looks just the same.

Mammy. (Closes door) Yes, sir--nothing's been changed here in twenty
years.

Crosby. You've been faithful to your trust, Mammy.

Mammy. I certainly has. I stuck right here guarding the old place all
the time.

Crosby. Haven't you been lonely--living here by yourself?

Mammy. No, sir. I've got my friends.

Crosby. Friends!

Mammy. Yes, my friends from the shadow world!

Crosby. (Cynically) Oh! You believe in spirits, eh?

Mammy. I don't believe. I know. They are with me all the time (She
makes a mysterious gesture in the air.)

Crosby. (Amused) You never really saw one, did you, Mammy?

Mammy. (Coming to him, her eyes bright with feverish excitement) Yes,
sir--I see 'em! And they done warn me there's a evil spirit working
around this house.

Crosby. (Amused) Ever see it?

Mammy. No, sir--but I felt it--pass me in the dark--on the stairs

Crosby. (At safe) Nonsense, your nerves are Upset--it's living
alone--here all this time.

Mammy. No, sir!

Crosby. (Working combination at safe) Never mind, cheer up! In' a few
minutes the house will be full of people, and all your spooks will
vanish.

Mammy. How many heirs coming?

Crosby. Six! All the surviving relatives. By the way Mammy--your job as
guardian of this house is up to-night. What are you going to do?

(Opens safe and takes out will.)

Mammy. It all depends. If I like the new heirs--I stay here. If I
don't--I goes back to the West Indies.

(Crosby closes safe in wall and moves to front of sofa. )

Crosby. There's the will. It's been in that safe, undisturbed for the
last twenty years, think of that.

(In front of sofa.)

Mammy. (Looking at him sardonically) I'se thinking.

Crosby. (Opens portfolio and takes out three large sealed envelopes)
There you are, just as your master sealed them, and locked them in
that safe--marked one, two, three--hello. (As he is looking at them he
shows excitement. He examines each seal intently.) These envelopes have
been opened--every one of them! The seals have been cut away and very
cleverly glued back again. Someone has opened that safe and read this
will.

Mammy. How could they? Nobody knows how to open the safe but you.

Crosby. (With anger) Well, I didn't do it.

Mammy. I ain't suspecting nobody--I'd just like to know--why they
opened 'em. (Grins at him venomously.) What you expect they'd want to
do, change the will?

Crosby. (Looking at her keenly) Perhaps. But if it has been changed,
it won't do them any good. I drew up duplicate wills, according to Mr.
West's instructions. One copy is here--the other is in the vault of the
Empire Trust Company and if this one has been tampered with, I'll know
it--and I'll know who did it. (Door-bell rings.)

Mammy. You don't think that I--

Crosby. See who that is. Mammy. And mind--say nothing about this.

(Mammy gives him a poisonous look and exits. Crosby starts looking for
a secret spring near bookcase up r. and stops as he hears Mammy at
door. Mammy opens door, admits Harry Blythe, a tall, dark man about
thirty-five years of age. A quiet, cynical, bored man, but dangerous.
He is of the gentleman heavy type.)

Harry. (Enters, shakes hands with Crosby) How are you, Mr. Crosby?

Crosby. Hello, Harry! Did you come up on the train?

Harry. No. Some friends of mine motored me over from Tarrytown. The
train had just pulled in as I passed the station. Am I the first of the
pack?

Crosby. Yes. I guess the others will be right up.

Harry. How many heirs besides myself?

Crosby Five.

Harry. Five, eh? Well, I'm fortunate. I only know two of them, and I
wish to heaven I only knew one.

Crosby. (Slowly) Why do you dislike Charlie Wilder?

Harry. In the first place because he is my cousin, in the second place
because he's a poet, and (Lights cigarette.)

Crosby. (Grins) And in the third place, because Annabelle is very fond
of him!

Harry. You've said it! (Looks at him, then turns away and changes
subject.) So this is the old man's library?

Crosby. Yes. Haven't you ever been here before?

Harry. No. Why did you ask?

Crosby. (Glancing at will in his hand) Well, someone has.

Harry. (Quickly) Just what do you mean by that?

Crosby. (Turning away) Oh, nothing.

Harry. (Sees Mammy in doorway) I beg your pardon, would you mind
parking yourself in the kitchen for a while?

(Mammy glares at him venomously, but at a nod from Crosby, exits.)

Crosby. You've offended her. Do you know who she is?

Harry. (Coming c.) No.

Crosby. She's Mr. West's old and trusted servant

Harry. That's possibly all very true--but it's not interesting. What
are you getting at?

Crosby. You mustn't treat her like an ordinary servant. She's a West
Indian--a voodoo woman.

Harry. (Smiles) My dear fellow--I don't care what she Is. Is that the
will?

Crosby. (Offended by his manner) Yes, but it can't be read until all
the heirs are assembled in this room. (Crosses to safe and closes
panel.)

Harry. (Seated on arm of chair) All right. Oh, Mr. Crosby. You knew old
man West--was he all there?

Crosby. All there?

Harry. Wasn't he a little bit off? You know, a little coo-coo. Didn't
he collect things--in the West Indies?

Crosby. (Sternly) Have you no respect for a dead relative?

Harry. (Cheerfully) None whatever--unless, of course, he has made me
the sole heir. (Laughs and sits down to read a book.) Come on, Mr.
Crosby--you'll admit he was a nut.

Crosby. (Slowly) He was a little eccentric.

Harry. Eccentric! He was fantastic! Why did he want a twenty-year-old
will read to his heirs--at midnight in this old house? Why not in the
daytime at your office? Why drag us out here?

Crosby. (Coming in front of sofa) Mr. West stipulated--that this will
should be read--in this room--at the very hour of his death--one of his
whims. (Crosses c. to back of table l.)

Harry. Whim (Rises.) It's going to make me miss the last train to New
York and I'll have to sleep here.

Crosby. That's all been taken care of. (Goes to Harry r. c. ) Mammy
will see that you're made comfortable, and you'll have company--the
others will have to sleep here, too. (Mammy opens door and admits two
more heirs, Cicily Young, a pretty blond girl and Susan Sillsby, a
female with an acid temper. Seeing Susan.) How do you do!

Susan. How do you do!

Crosby. (Shakes hands with Cicily) You two know each' other?

Susan. Oh, yes, yes--we met after we got off the train. My, what a
small world it is.

Cicily. I overheard Miss Sillsby asking for a taxi to take her to
Glencliff, so we rode up together.

Susan. What was I saying? Oh, yes--I was telling Cicily

Crosby. Excuse me, Miss Sillsby--let me introduce Mr. Harry Blythe.
Miss Susan Sillsby and Miss Cicily Young.

Harry. Ladies, delighted!

Susan. (Gushes over to Harry) So you are Harry Blythe! Well! Well!
Well! My, what a small world it is.

Harry. Yes, isn't it?

Susan. (Taking Harry by the arm to front of sofa) Now, you must tell me
all about yourself. We must find out just how we're connected! Did you
know my Great-aunt Eleanor.

Harry. (Interrupting) No, Miss Sillsby, I did not know your Great-aunt
Eleanor.

Susan. Well, she's--

Harry. I'm not anxious to hear about her--so why delve into ancient
history?

Susan. But I--

Harry. Aunt Eleanor and I are related--aren t we?

Susan. Yes

Harry. It can't be helped

Susan. No!

Harry. So let it go at that. (Crosses R. of table R.)

Susan. (Bounces back to Cicily) Why--he's the rudest man I ever
met--he's positively insulting.

Cicily. Don't pay any attention to him. He doesn't know any better
probably. Anyway, I like him better than I do this house. (Looks
around.) It's such a spooky old place!

Susan. You know, my dear--I've had the queerest feeling ever since we
came in the house. I feel as if someone were--peering at me Oh!
(Suddenly sees Mammy looking fixedly at her.) This house is haunted.
I know it.

Mammy. (Keeping her eyes on Susan, speaks in a deep sepulchral voice)
Lady, there is someone in the other world trying to tell you something.
You is mediumistic--(Cry from Susan.) a spiritist--I knew it when you
came in that door. There are spirits all around you.

Susan. (Sits chair c.) I knew it--I knew it.

Crosby. (Sternly) What are you trying to do, Mammy? Frighten her to
death?

Harry. (Laughs) Nonsense--(To end of sofa.) no one was ever frightened
to death.

Crosby. It has happened, and you know it. Lots of women have lost their
minds--sometimes their lives--through--fright. The asylums are full of
such cases. (Mammy exits.)

Harry. (Crosby walks down l. in front of table) I don't believe it

Susan. (Rises) Oh, I wish I hadn't come--you heard what she said! It's
terrible--I want to go home. (Cicily takes her over to sofa.)

Harry. Come and sit down.

Susan. I don't want to sit down. (Sits on sofa.)

(Mammy opens door and admits Charlie Wilder. Charlie is a tall,
handsome, leading man type He is full of charm--smiles all the time,
and has a magnetic personality. Charlie down to Crosby.)

Charlie, (Holding out his hand to Crosby) How are you, Mr. Crosby? Hope
I'm not late. (Looks toward the ladies.)

Crosby. Hello, Charlie! Miss Susan Sillsby and Miss Cicily Young--this
is Charlie Wilder, another distant relative.

Charlie. (Smiles and shakes hands with them) It's a pleasure to
discover that I have such charming relatives.

Susan. Oh!

Crosby. Oh, Harry, you know Charlie, of course ...

Harry. (Coming c--stands, staring at Charlie) Oh, yes, I know him!

Crosby. Now, boys, forget this foolish quarrel of yours. This is a
family reunion--stop acting like children and shake hands.

Charlie. I'd like to. Come on, old man. Let's bury the hatchet. Shake!
(Offers hand to Harry. Harry shakes hands reluctantly. Drops his hand,
turns to Crosby.) When are you going to read the will, Mr. Crosby?

Crosby. As soon as the other two heirs arrive. ('Phone.) Excuse me.
(Sits l. of table. Answers telephone.) Hello--yes--yes, this is Mr.
Crosby. (Listens.) Oh, all right--yes, we're waiting for you. (Hangs up
'phone.) That's one of them now. She's on her way from the station. She
had trouble getting a taxi.

Charlie. (Back of table) I left the other downstairs. Chap by the name
of Jones.

Crosby. What's he doing down there?

Charlie. Arguing with the driver of the taxi we came up in.

(Mammy admits Paul Jones.)

Crosby. (Holds out his hand) Come in, Paul. Glad to see you. My, my,
but you're looking fit!

Paul. (Shaking hands with him doubtfully) Well, I may look all
right--but I don't feel so good.

Crosby. No.

Paul. I have felt better--but on the other hand, I have felt worse.

Crosby. Here are some cousins you ought to know, Miss Cicily Young. Mr.
Paul Jones.

Cicily. (Seated l. of sofa. Smiles) So you're Cousin Paul

Paul. Yep! That's who it is.

Cicily. Isn't it a wonderful night?

Paul. Well, the sky didn't look any too good when I came in but of
course on the other hand it may be all right by to-morrow.

Crosby. Miss Sillsby, Mr. Jones.

Susan. (Crosses to Paul, gushing) Well! Well! Paul Jones?

Paul. Yep!

Susan. Isn't the world a small place?

Paul. Yep, it certainly is, but not too small.

Susan. I quite agree with you. You're a professional man, aren't you?

Paul. Yes, ma'am, I'm a horse doctor.

(Susan crosses to sofa and sits.)

Charlie. (Coming around the r. of Paul) Horse doctor!

Crosby. Oh, Paul, your cousin Charlie Wilder

Charlie. How do you do!

Crosby. And Harry Blythe

Paul. Mr. Blythe!

Charlie. I thought you were in the automobile business.

Paul. Well, when I graduated from college as a first-class vet, I
went back home to practice and found I was sunk. The farmers had quit
using horses and were all driving cars, so I naturally began doctoring
them--there isn't much difference, is there--and I want to tell you
I've got about the snappiest garage in Wickford.

Mammy. (Who has been in the door all this time, suddenly speaks) I hear
a taxi comin' down the drive--the sixth heir. (Mammy looks at them with
a malicious smile and exits. )

Cicily. (Shows fear) Ugh! She gives me the creeps.

Charlie. (Up to door) She is rather weird. I don't hear any taxi.

Susan. This house is haunted.

Paul. (With a start) Eh!

Susan. I know it!

Crosby. Rubbish! (Turns to Susan.) You'll be seeing ghosts the first
thing you know.

Paul. (Nervously) Well, personally, I've never seen a ghost--however,
on the other hand, that doesn't prove that there aren't any. I've felt
kinda queer ever since I've been in this house.

Harry. What will you do with it if you inherit it?

Paul. I don't expect to inherit it. I never (Crossing to Harry l.)
inherit anything--but on the other hand you never can tell, I might.

(Mammy opens door and Annabelle West enters. Annabelle is a vigorous,
beautiful girl, frank and fearless and very modern.)

Annabelle. Sorry I'm late, Mr. Crosby.

Crosby. (Greets her) Well, Annabelle, you did get here. Miss Cicily
Young--Miss Annabelle West.

(Annabelle smiles and shakes hands with them.)

Cicily. Annabelle West, the illustrator?

Anna. I suppose so! Crosby. Miss Sillsby, Miss West.

Harry. (To c.) Hello, Annabelle!

(As Annabelle turns and sees Harry, she gasps in amazement.)

Anna. Harry!

Charlie. (Coming down c.) Annabelle!

(Then seeing Charlie, Annabelle gasps in great amazement.)

Anna. Charlie Wilder! Why didn't I see you on the train?

Charlie. I was in the smoker.

Harry. I motored up. Now you can go ahead, Mr. Crosby.

(Annabelle is speechless for a moment.)

Crosby, (l. of table) If you'll all sit down, I'll begin.

Charlie. Annabelle! (Charlie offers chair at r. of table which
Annabelle takes. At the same time, Harry pushes armchair for Annabelle
to sit in and Paul takes it.)

Anna. (As she sits down, she sees Paul staring at her with open mouth)
Well, Cousin Paul?

Paul. (Who has been staring at her, fascinated, with his mouth wide
open, chokes and stammers) Yes, that's right. Little Annabelle
West--all growed up an' everything.

Anna. (Smiles and takes his hand) When did you leave Wickford?

Paul. This morning, I think--yes, as a matter of fact, I--

Crosby. (Is seated) Now I'm going to be brief.

Harry. (Flippantly) Good!

(Paul gives him a look.)

Crosby. (Glares at him) Cyrus Canby West died in this house twenty
years ago to-night. He made me executor of his estate. Mr. West was a
very eccentric man--and hated all his living relatives.

Harry. (Sotto voce) I don't blame him.

Crosby. Not wishing his near relatives to enjoy his fortune, Mr. West
invested it in Government bonds to mature in twenty years. At the end
of that time I was to assemble all his surviving relatives and read his
will. Now you understand why I've kept track of you all. You six people
are the last living descendants of Cyrus Canby West.

Harry. I thought you were going to make this brief.

Crosby. Please! (Holds up the three envelopes.) Here is the will in
these three envelopes.

(GONG.)

(At this moment, a muffled, weird gong sounds somewhere in the house.
It tolls seven and stops. GONG seven strokes.)

Crosby. (Continuing) I will now read instructions on envelope marked I.

(Everyone looks at each other with a certain amount of nervousness.)

Mammy. (In trance) Oh, tell me--oh, tell me! (Everyone turns and looks
at Mammy.)

Crosby. (Annoyed, because in spite of himself he is chilled by the
unearthly gong, turns to Mammy) Mammy--Mammy Pleasant!

Mammy. (Who has been standing near the door, has her eyes closed, and
is rocking her body to and fro, muttering incantations to herself)
Yes--I hear you--Eliza.

Crosby. Mammy!

Mammy. Eliza, what are you trying to tell me about--about

Crosby. (Sharply) Mammy! Stop that and answer me.

Mammy. Tell me--tell me the name

Crosby. (Sharply) Mammy!

Mammy. (Opening eyes) What?

Crosby. What was that noise--like a gong?

Mammy. (In a deep voice surcharged with malice) That is the warning of
death. The master heard it just before he died.

(All look at each other impressed in spite of themselves. Paul stands
up and mops his brow with his handkerchief and runs his hand around his
collar, which has suddenly grown too tight.)

Paul. I've been thinking that there isn't any use of my staying round
here, besides, I don't feel so good--and it looks like rain, so if it's
all the same to you, I think I'll run to the station. (Starts for the
door. Mammy moves in front of him.)

Anna. (Stops him and begins to laugh) Nonsense, Paul, it isn't going to
rain--and I want you here to--to--you, You don't believe in ghosts, do
you?

Paul. No! No! Of course not! But then on the other hand that gong and

Crosby. It's nothing

Anna. An old grandfather's clock in one of the rooms.

Mammy. There is no clock running in this house.

Paul. You see!

Mammy. The toll says seven may live. There is eight persons in this
room. One must die before morning.

Susan. Oh! I feel faint.

Paul. Say, listen, honest to goodness, it's too hot in here. I want
some air. (Paul starts for door. Harry grabs Paul and forces him in
chair.)

Harry. Quit your kidding and sit down.

Paul. (As he sits down) But I'm not kidding.

Harry. Crosby, go on with the will.

Crosby. (Clears his throat, and reads instructions on envelope 1) "At
midnight, September 27, 1921, you will open this envelope and read
its contents to such of my relatives (Movement of everybody.) as are
assembled in my library at Glencliff Manor." (He opens the envelope,
takes out sheet of paper and reads.) "First, let my executor ask the
prospective heirs assembled this night if they are willing to take
what fortune offers them, and not question my judgment in the manner
in which I shall dispose of my fortune." (He looks up inquiringly.) Is
that clear? Any objections?

Susan. No, that's all right, go ahead.

(All nod satisfaction.)

Crosby. "If they are willing--"

Paul. Just a minute, I don't know about that. Maybe his judgment isn't
good. Mind you, I don't say that it isn't, but then on the other hand
it might not be.

Crosby. Are you satisfied or not?

Paul. Well, it seems to me under the circumstances

Charlie. Sure he is--go on.

Crosby. Are you?

Paul. I didn't say I wasn't. I merely started to say that it seemed to
me under the circumstances--

Harry. Will you dry up?

Crosby. (Continues reading) "If they are willing to take what fortune
offers, then let my executor open envelope number two and read my
will." (He puts down the paper, opens the envelope marked (2). All
show their anxiety and lean forward to hear as he reads.) "I, Cyrus
Canby West, being of sound mind and body, do hereby declare as the sole
heir to all my money, bonds, securities, estate, real and otherwise,
my descendant, man or woman who bears the surname of West. If more
than one bear the surname of West, then my estate shall be equally
divided among them. Cyrus Canby West. Witnesses: Mammy Pleasant, Roger
Crosby." (Crosby looks up and pauses. Paul stands up to congratulate
Annabelle.) There is, however, a codicil. (Paul coughs and sits. Crosby
continues to read.) "In the event of the death of the beneficiary, or
if he or she be proved of unsound mind, or if it be proved in a court
of law that the said beneficiary is not competent to properly handle
the estate, then my executor will open envelope marked 3 and declare
the next heir." (Crosby puts down paper, looks at them and speaks.)
Therefore--(Rises.) in accordance with the will. I now declare Miss
Annabelle West as sole heiress of the West estate, and the mistress
of Glencliff Manor. Annabelle, I congratulate you. (Offers his hand.
Paul rises--moves chair back.) And as there is no doubt as to the good
health and sanity of Miss West--I trust this envelope shall never be
opened. (Puts envelope in his pocket.)

Charlie. (Over table) It's wonderful, Annabelle, I'm glad.

Harry. I congratulate you with all my heart. (Crosses to back of chair
c.)

Anna. (Dazed by her good fortune) I--I can't realize it yet--all I can
say is--that Glencliff is open to you all--and everything I have is
(Almost breaks down.)

Susan. (On sofa) I knew there was a catch in it.

Cicily. (Rises, crosses and shakes hands) I confess I'm disappointed,
but I congratulate you. Anna. Thanks.

(Cicily crosses up to l. of Harry.)

Susan. (With an acid smile) I suppose there's nothing else to do, but
to wish you many happy returns.

Anna It is so--so unexpected--I can hardly----(Turns to Crosby.) I
can't believe it yet (To Paul.) Isn't it wonderful?

Paul (l. of sofa) Well, of course, money doesn't always bring
happiness--but then again on the other hand, sometimes it does.

Susan. I quite agree with you, money is the root of all evil.

Paul. It is, it certainly is! When you haven't got any! (Goes up stage.)

Anna. (To Crosby) Mr. Crosby, one thing puzzles me about the will.

Crosby. What is it?

Anna. What did he mean when it said if the heir is proved to be unsound
in mind?

Crosby. Mr. West believed that there was a streak of insanity in the
family. That clause was put there in case that failing should reappear
in the heir. In 'that event, the estate would go to the heir named in
envelope three.

(Annabelle sits r. of table. Crosby sits l. of table.)

Paul. I wonder who that is?

Harry. I wonder.

Anna. I didn't know there was any insanity in our family.

Harry. Neither did I until I heard that will.

Crosby. But it is legal--absolutely!

Harry. I don't dispute that--I'm only saying that the old man was doty.

Crosby. He was peculiar, yes, but as sane as any man living.

Mammy. (Comes to r. of Annabelle and offers her a ring full of keys)
Here are the keys to the house, Miss West.

Anna. Won't you remain as my housekeeper?

Mammy. (Puts keys in pocket of apron. She takes out a sealed envelope,
hands it to Annabelle) When Mr. West died he gave me this letter to
give to the heir after the will was read. (Mammy backs up to door
again.)

Anna. (Reads what is written on the outside of the envelope) "You will
open this envelope tonight, in my room, where you are to sleep." (Looks
at Crosby, then puts the letter in her pocket.) Where is the room,
Mammy?

Mammy. (Points) There. Across the hall.

Cicily. (To Harry) I agree with you. Mr. West was certainly insane.
Imagine trusting that woman to deliver a letter twenty years after his
death.

Crosby. (Blankly) It's all news to me. Mammy, when did he give you that
letter?

Mammy. Just before he died, when you and the doctor were talking in a
corner of the room. (Glaring at Cicily.)

Susan. I'm afraid that Cousin Cyrus was a little out of his mind.

Paul. (To Susan) I wonder what's in that letter.

Crosby. It may refer to the lost necklace.

Harry. Necklace?

Cicily. (Coming down c. To Harry) Oh, I remember my mother telling me
she saw it once and said it was the most gorgeous thing imaginable. All
sapphires and rubies.

Anna. Seems to me I heard something about it (To Crosby.) Wasn't it a
family heirloom?

Cicily. Yes. Mother told me it had been in the family for--oh,
generations. But she said it was lost or stolen--after it came into Mr.
West's possession.

Crosby. It did disappear--but I don't think it was lost or stolen. I
believe Mr. West hid it--somewhere in this house.

Charlie. Why should he do that?

Crosby. Another of his whims.

Susan. Did you ever see it?

Crosby. Once. It was magnificent. The stones alone are worth a fortune.
Annabelle, I congratulate you again.

Susan. (Paul goes up R.) Gracious--some people have all the luck.

Cicily. You know the old saying--"Them that has--gets."

Anna. (Excited) Before I go to bed (Rises.) I'll open this letter.
Perhaps in the morning I will show you the necklace. This is going to
be a wonderful evening. Mammy, how about some supper?

Mammy. I'll put it on the table in the dining room.

Anna. While you're doing that, we'll explore the place--and you two can
pick out your rooms.

Cicily. I'd like one next to Susan. I'm afraid to sleep alone in this
ghostly old house.

Susan. (Crosses to Cicily) I know I won't sleep a wink.

Anna. Nonsense. There is nothing to fear.

Cicily. Aren't you afraid to sleep in the room where he died?

Anna. Certainly not, why should I be?

Susan. (Exaggerated) This house is haunted, she--(Points to Mammy.) has
seen them--spirits!

Anna. Suppose she has' She has been living here a long time--and they
haven't hurt you, have they?

Mammy. (At door) But there is an evil spirit in this house now

Anna. (Just a trifle nervous) I don't believe it--nothing can frighten
me.

Charlie. (Seeing that Annabelle is growing nervous) Keep still! Don't
you see--you are making Miss West nervous.

(Mammy gives a venomous look and goes out.)

Anna. (Starting after Mammy--l. of door) Come on, Susan and Cicily

Susan. I won't budge without a man.

Anna. Come on, Paul, you'll protect us, won't you?

Paul. (Going toward door) Well, I don't know as I'd be much use to
you--but then again, on the other hand, you never can tell--maybe I
might. (Exits with Annabelle.)

(Susan moves up stage.)

Cicily (r c, speaking at Crosby) I haven't much confidence in Paul--I
wish Mr. Crosby would come!

Crosby, Me?--I--of course I'll come--delighted.

Susan. The more the merrier

(Exeunt Cicily and Susan.)

Crosby (At door. To Harry and Charlie) Why don't you boys make it up!
(Exits, and closes door.)

Charlie (As soon as they are alone, he grins at Harry and crosses to
c.) Here we are again!

Harry (Coming over to Charlie) but it won't be for long. One of us will
be gone before morning.

Charlie. Meaning me?

Harry. You!

Charlie. Until Annabelle tells me I'm not wanted, I'm goin to stick
right here.

Harry. You won't stick here and you won't get her--except--Well, just
try it!

Charlie. Now that she's the heiress, you've decided that you're in love
with her.

Harry I've decided that she needs my protection--(Annabelle reenters.)
and she's going to have it. So you keep out of my way--or I'll (Harry
makes a threatening move.) Anna Well--what's it all about?

Harry. Nothing! (Turns away to back of sofa. Charlie moves over to
table l.)

Charlie. Sorry to disappoint you, Annabelle. Where did you put me?

Anna. At the end of the hall. Mammy will show you. Harry, you are to
sleep in the first room at the head of the stairs.

Charlie. Find any spirits in the house?

Anna. The sideboard is full of Scotch whiskey. Run along--make yourself
a highball!

Charlie. (Going to door) All right, I will, but I'd like to see you
later, Annabelle.

Anna. Come back when you've had your Scotch.

Charlie. I will. And I'll bring you some. (Charlie exits, closes door.)

Anna. (To sofa) Harry, what's all this nonsense between you and Charlie?

Harry. It isn't nonsense, Annabelle. It's serious. You know how
I--think about you, and it exasperates me the way you smile on that
rotter.

Anna. See here, Harry, don't talk that way about Charlie--he's one of
my dearest friends.

Harry. If he's a sample of your dearest friends, God help you!

Anna. I used to think you were one of them, but when I see you with
such an ugly look in your eyes (Sits.)

Harry. You're shocked, are you?

Anna. No! I've always thought there was a good deal of the brute in you

Harry. And is that why you told me to run along and find some other
girl?

Anna. Not exactly. I didn't mind the brute in you--I was only afraid
you mightn't be able to control it--and it looks as though I were right.

Harry. How can a man control himself when he sees the woman he loves is
being swept off her feet by a romantic milksop?

Anna. (Rises) If you mean Charlie--

Harry. I do. (She goes l. He follows.) Charlie's a dreamer--a
visionary. He'll never amount to a row of pins. Don't throw yourself
away on him!

Anna. Do you suggest that I throw myself away on you?

Harry. You'd better!

Anna. Is that a threat?

Harry. Whatever it is, Annabelle--it comes straight from my heart.

Anna. Just for a moment--the old trust in you--comes back to me.

Harry. And if you'll give me the chance I'll make you trust me forever.

Anna. It's too late.

Harry. You love him

Anna.(Crosses' in ftont of table) Please!

Harry. All 'right, but I know a cure for it! Anna. A cure? Harry. Yes!
Just marry him!...And you can take my word for it, you'll be sorry
as long as you live.

Anna. (Lightly) What are you doing--putting a curse on me?

Harry. What do you want me to do--give you my blessing?

Anna. You can give me one thing--a promise--(Crosses to Harry. Holds
out her hand.) that you'll always be my friend.

Harry. (Taking her hand) That goes! You'll need me, Annabelle, and when
you do, I'll come a-running.

Annabelle. I've a mind to give you a kiss for that!

Harry. No, thanks--I want all or none.

(Enter Crosby, followed by Charlie, who brings on tray, whiskey bottle
and glasses.)

Crosby. Annabelle, as hostess, I think you might hurry along the supper.

Anna. (Starting for door) Mammy may not like my interfering but I'll
see what I can do. (Exits.)

Crosby. (To Charlie) That was a great highball! Charlie! Just like old
times.

Charlie. I'll say the old man knew Scotch.

Harry. I'll say he didn't know much about wills.

(Susan enters in trance--she stands staring into space. Paul reenters.)

Susan. I know it--I know it, I know it. (In front of chair r. of table.)

Paul. (Uneasy--to Crosby) What's--what's the matter with her?

Crosby. (To Susan) Anything wrong, Miss Sillsby?

Susan. I know it, just as sure as I'm standing on this spot.

Paul. What do you know?

Susan. That something is going to happen. Something terrible. (Harry
laughs.) Don't you laugh at me, Harry Blythe. Don't you know Aunt
Eleanor is trying to warn me?

Paul. What's she trying to warn you about?

Susan. Some danger. (Paul crosses to sofa.)

Harry. (Coming down l. of sofa) Miss Sillsby, aren't you stretching
your imagination--just a little?

Charlie. (Back of table) You're not a medium, are you?

Susan. Yes. I've always thought I was a psychic, and now I know it.
Didn't you hear Mammy Pleasant say a spirit was trying to warn me? Aunt
Eleanor.

Crosby. (Indulgently) You mustn't believe everything that Mammy tells
you, Miss Sillsby.

Susan. But I do. I felt it in my bones, the moment I entered this
house, that something terrible was going to happen. (Crosses to l. of
sofa.)

Paul. (On sofa) And I suppose if nothing terrible happens--you'll be
disappointed?

(Mammy starts to open door.)

Susan. (Acidly) Mr. Jones! Really! Paul. Sorry--no offense.

Mammy. (Opens door) There's a man outside. He says he wants to see the
boss of this house. Crosby. Who is he?

Mammy. He's from the sanitarium at Fairview. Crosby. You mean--the
asylum? Mammy. Yes, sir.

Crosby. What does he want?

Mammy. I don't know.

(Crosby looks at the others, perplexed.)

Harry. Why not see him, and find out?

Crosby. Send him in, Mammy.

(Mammy exits and closes door. Susan sits chair c.)

Charlie. (Lights cigarette) Could he be after some--

Harry. Where is this asylum, Mr. Crosby?

Crosby. Up past the village. (Looks at all of them.) What do you
suppose he wants?

Paul. Maybe he wants to take one of us back with him.

(Mammy admits Hendricks, a typical guard--rough and brutal, with a
dangerous manner. He carries a straight jacket.)

Mammy. This is the man.

Hendricks. (Looks at Charlie, then Harry, then Mammy, who exits and
closes door. He then comes c. to Crosby) Are you the boss?

Crosby. I represent the owner of this house. Who are you?

Hendricks. My name's Hendricks. I'm the head Guard up at Fairview.

Crosby. Yes, I know. What are you doing down here?

Hendricks. We're looking for a patient who got away this afternoon.
(Crosses to window below table.)

Charlie. A patient!

Harry. You mean you're looking for an escaped lunatic?

Hendricks. (Looks at Harry) Yes.

Harry. Why didn't you come right out with it?

Hendricks. (Gruffly) Because I didn't want to scare you.

Crosby. (Quickly) Is there any cause for alarm?

Hendricks. Yes.

Crosby. And this--this patient is dangerous?

Hendricks. (Crosses to Crosby) Dangerous! (Pauses.) He's a killer. A
homicidal maniac!

Charlie. (Sharply) What makes you think he's here?

Hendricks. (In a surly tone to Charlie) I didn't say he was here. I'm
asking at all the houses, and thought I was doing a favor in warning
you, that's all.

Crosby. (Placating him) Just a minute. No offense was intended.

Hendricks. (Stops and turns) Well?

Crosby. Have you any reason to believe he might be around here?

Hendricks. (Comes down a step) Well, he might be in any of these
houses. You see, he always gets in a house when he escapes, and hides
until everyone goes to bed--then he prowls around like--

Harry. He's escaped before?

Hendricks. Yes. He got away from us about a year ago, and hid in a
house in the village, and--well, I got there just in time.

Harry. What does he look like?

Hendricks. When he escaped he had on a black slouch hat and a
long coat. He's an old guy, with a bald head, sharp teeth and
finger-nails--like claws. He crawls around on all fours like a--

Crosby. An animal?

Hendricks. Yeh, a cat!

Harry. A cat!

Hendricks. Yes, and I'm the only one up there that can handle him.
(Grins at them brutally.) He's afraid of me.

Charlie. (With irony) I suppose you control him through kindness.

Hendricks. (With a savage laugh) Control him through kindness! Yes, I
do--not. I control him with a club, a chair, an iron bar--anything I
can get my hands on. (To others.) We have to keep him strapped down
most of the time in this straight jacket! (Shows it.)

Charlie. That's the crudest thing I ever heard of. Think of being
strapped down in that--it's enough to make anyone violent.

Hendricks. (Sneeringly) You don't say so. Hah!

Charlie. Yes, and I dare say, because of his treatment up there, this
old man thinks everyone is against him. He's probably just a poor old
nut.

Hendricks. (To Charlie with a truculent air) Poor old nut! Say, young
feller, let me tell you, this poor old nut could rip you open--just
like a cat rips open a bird. Don't make any mistake about him.
(To others.) The last time I got him he had his hands (Indicates
strangling.) Well, it took three of us to get him away. (Looks at all
of them and then sneers at Charlie.) Poor old nut I Say, young feller,
you take my tip, if you see him--you--you run like hell!

Susan. (Gasps with terror) Oh!

Hendricks. Sorry, ma'am, I forgot you was there. (Crosses to window in
front of table.)

Susan. Do you think

Hendricks. Now don't get excited. It ain't likely he's around here.
(Comes back to c.)

Crosby. Where are the rest of your men?

Hendricks. Looking over the estate--next to this one. (Goes to door.)
Well, I guess I'll be going.

Crosby. But suppose

Hendricks. (Coming down) Don't get nervous, he ain't liable to ever get
in this house. 'Tain't likely he's even around here.

Crosby. (Relieved) You think so?

Hendricks. Sure. He may be prowling around the neighborhood, waiting
for a chance to sneak in somewhere, so just to play safe, none of
you had better go out before morning. (Pauses a moment and speaks
seriously.) But--be sure to lock all the outside doors and windows.
I'll be around here, and if we get him, I'll drop in and let you
know--good-night. ( Exits. )

Crosby. (Pauses--turning to them all) What do you think we ought to do?

Charlie. (To everyone) We'd better not say anything about this to
Annabelle or Cicily. It would only throw them into a panic.

Harry. (Insolently) You're wrong. Both these girls should be told. If
there is any danger they ought to know it.

Charlie. What do you think, Mr. Crosby?

Crosby. I agree with you. It would throw them into a panic. I don't
believe there is any danger, so there is no use alarming them. Harry,
you won't tell them, will you?

Harry. I don't know about that (Turns to Paul.) What do you think, Paul?

Paul. I think I'd better go down and lock all the cellar windows.

Susan. Yes! Yes! Do, do!

(Harry touches Paul on shoulder. Paul jumps with exclamation.)

Paul. Oh!

Harry. I mean about telling the girls.

Paul. (Doubtfully) Well, I don't know. Maybe they ought to be told and
on the other hand maybe they oughtn't.

Harry. (Back of sofa) You're a lot of help to me! (To Crosby.) You win.
I shall say nothing.

Crosby. (To Paul) You'll keep quiet, Paul?

Paul. (Doubtfully) Well, I don't know--it seems to me under the
circumstances--

Crosby. (Exasperated) Will you answer me?

Paul. What I started to say was--it seems to me under the circumstances

Crosby. Will you or won't you?

Paul. (Rises) Well, you don't give me a chance to talk (Rises.) Of
course I won't say anything. (Goes back of sofa to bookcase.)

Crosby. Now, Susan, promise not to mention this to the girls!

Susan. Of course I won't. Good heavens, do you think I'm the kind who
can't keep a secret? (Rises.) Let me tell you, Mr. Crosby, that we
girls don't talk half as much as you men. (Crosby goes to window. Susan
changes her voice to a moan.) Oh dear--oh dear--I just know we'll all
be murdered in our beds. (Crosses to sofa.)

Harry. (Grins) Cheer up--the worst is yet to come. (Cautions silence as
Cicily enters and leaves door open.)

Cicily. Annabelle wants you to come to supper!

Crosby. We'll be right along.

Cicily. (Goes to Susan on couch) Why, Cousin Sue--what is it?

Susan. (Getting up) Oh, it's nothing--nothing! Come, Cicily, I must
have a strong cup of tea! (The men have their backs to them and as she
walks to door with Cicily, she says rapidly.) My dear--I've something
to tell you about a terrible old maniac--who is loose in this house--he
thinks he's a cat!--Oh, I wish there was a train back to New York.
(Susan and Cicily exit.)

Crosby. (Continuing his conversation) Now I don't--think there is any
danger, but it is just as well to be prepared (Harry starts to go.)
Where are you going, Harry?

Harry. (At door) Out in the garden for a little air. (Paul goes, sits
on sofa.)

Crosby. (Alarmed) But--suppose you run across this madman?

Harry. You mean the cat--if I do--I'll bark at him, and chase him up a
tree! (Grins at them in a peculiar manner.) I--I won't see you again,
Mr. Crosby--I'm leaving early in the morning. Good-bye! (Exits.)

Crosby. Good-bye! (To Charlie.) We had better go down and see that all
the windows and doors are bolted.

Charlie. I'll be right along--I want to speak to Annabelle.

Crosby. Come on, Paul.

Paul. (In reverie) Eh!

Crosby. Come on (Exits.)

Paul. Well, I don't know that I'll be much use to you--but then again,
I'm always nervous before going into action. (Meets Annabelle at door,
Charlie is looking out of window l.)

Anna. Paul, are you coming back?

Paul. I hope so. (Exits.)

Anna. (Seeing Charlie) Charlie, don't you want anything to eat?

Charlie. I'd rather talk to you while I have the chance. (Closes door.)

Anna. (Sits r. of table) Go ahead!

Charlie. I don't know just how to begin!

Anna. (Smiles at him) Then let's begin by asking you a few questions.

Charlie. (c.) All right!

Anna. (Looks at him intently) What's the trouble between you and Harry?

Charlie. You.

Anna. Oh, I thought it was something deeper than that--more important,
you know.

Charlie. There's nothing in the world quite so important as you,
Annabelle..

Anna. That isn't so awfully good, Charlie.

Charlie. My dear, I'm not trying to flatter you. I was only speaking
the truth. Our quarrel was about you. Of course I don't exactly blame
him--he's jealous.

Anna. Just jealousy doesn't explain this deadly hate that's sprung up
between you and Harry--and I don't like it.

Charlie. The hate's all on his side--I've tried to make it up. But I'm
afraid that's Harry's nature--he broods over the fact that I've cut him
out.

Anna. With me?

Charlie. Of course--I didn't tell him about it--he just sort of sensed
it.

Anna. Still you must have been quite sure that you had cut him out.
(Faces front.)

Charlie. Why, I thought I had some reason to feel that--well--it is all
right, isn't it? (Crosses back of her and sits on table.)

Anna. It's all right to feel anything you choose, but isn't it taking a
great deal for granted, to think that I'm in love with you?

Charlie. Perhaps it is--but when you chased Harry off--and encouraged me

Anna. And I don't mind owning up that for a while I was a wee bit
foolish about you.

Charlie. Thanks.

Anna. And it might have got worse--you know, you have a way of making
yourself rather attractive--and you did seem to be so fearfully
sincere. Then--suddenly you changed. I couldn't make out what it was.
You seemed worried about something. I thought it must be one of two
things--another girl or money. But it couldn't be money--you're too
successful.

Charlie. No, just successful enough--to get what I go after

Anna. That's just it--what you go after. But you sort of let up going
after me.

Charlie. You're mistaken, I never--

Anna. (Rises and crosses to c.) It was the other girl--(Leaves envelope
that Mammy gave her on table. Turns.) or girls--how many were there?

Charlie. None

Anna. That's such an old one. Charlie! (Crosses r.)

Charlie. It doesn't make it any the less true

Anna. All right--I'll take your word for that part--(Sits on sofa.) but
the rest--I know--when it came--your growing coldness--

Charlie. (Going to her) There was no such thing--

Anna. Then call it distraction--whatever you like--

Charlie. But that passed and I came back--more in love with you than
ever--

Anna. Yes, and I welcomed you--I tried to warm up the old affection.
And only today I realized that it couldn't be done.

Charlie. You can't really mean? (Annabelle looks and turns head away.)
Isn't there the slightest hope--ever?

Anna. No! Fate has taken the matter out of my hands!

Charlie. You--you--really--love him?

Anna. I can't help it, Charlie.

Charlie. Then I guess this is my finish. (Moving l.)

Anna. Not unless you wish it.

Charlie. You think after this--we could be just friends?

Anna. I wish you'd try.

Charlie. Very well, I'll try. Good-night, Annabelle.

Anna. Good-night, Charlie. See you in the morning. (Charlie exits.
Annabelle puts out light r., crosses to table l. for envelope, sees
book, opens book. Starts at what she sees.) Fear! Eh! (She reads, sits
r. of table very much interested. Crosby enters and starts up r. before
he sees her.)

Paul. Oh, Mr. Crosby.

Crosby. (Pausing r. c.) You here alone, Annabelle? I don't want to
worry you, but there's something you ought to know.

Anna. Won't it keep till morning, Mr. Crosby? (Annabelle reading.)

Crosby. No--tomorrow may be too late. Annabelle! (Annabelle looks at
him. Annabelle smiles and continues to read.) You know Mr. West was a
very eccentric man--I have just made a discovery--it has convinced me
it would be dangerous for you to be left here alone. (Over to bookcase
R. and feels along case for spring.)

Anna. (Looking over her shoulder at him and laughing) Mr. Crosby.

Crosby. Don't laugh, Annabelle! (Examining r. u. corner of bookcase.) I
know what I'm talking about, believe me. I'm alarmed--and I want you to
take me seriously. (Panel opens, Crosby's back is to it. He half turns
toward Annabelle.) Annabelle, you're in danger--great danger--but,
thank God, I can tell you who they (Hand comes through panel and drags
Crosby off by throat. Crosby disappears into panel which closes after
him.)

Anna. (Does not see what has happened but is interested in book.
Finally, in vague sort of way, she becomes aware that Crosby has
stopped talking so she turns to answer him) But, Mr. Crosby, I've heard
so much about ghosts and spirits to-night that in spite of myself I'm
growing nervous. And so that's why I'd rather not hear (Annabelle looks
up and finds herself alone. She is startled and rises.) Mr. Crosby!
Mr. Crosby! (She goes to door and opens it. Mammy is standing in door
looking at Annabelle with a peculiar look.) Where did Mr. Crosby go?

Mammy. (Enters and crosses r. of door) I ain't seen him.

Anna. (Startled) You haven't seen him? You must have passed him in the
hall.

Mammy. No, Miss West, I passed no one in the hall, and I ain't seen Mr.
Crosby. Are you sure he was in this room?

Anna. (Crosses R. of door. She is shaken) Yes--yes--I was talking with
him just a moment ago. (Goes to hall, calls.) Susan, Cicily, Paul!
Why do you look at me like this? (Cicily enters with Susan. She sees
something has happened. She goes to Annabelle.)

Susan. What is it, Annabelle?

Anna. Was Mr. Crosby with you in the dining room?

Cicily. No. Only Charlie and Paul. (Paul and Charlie enter. Boys enter,
cross to back of table. Paul r. Charlie l.) Mr. Blythe is outside in
the garden. (Looks at her keenly.) What's wrong, Annabelle?

Anna. (Trying to speak calmly) An extraordinary thing has happened. A
few moments ago I was sitting there, (Points to chair r. of table.)
and Mr. Crosby was there, (Points up stage and continues.) talking to
me--when suddenly he--vanished. (All look at each other.)

Cicily. (Exchanges an alarmed look with Susan) Vanished! (Susan sits
chair r. of table.)

Charlie. (Puzzled) Mr. Crosby vanished?

(Paul moves to back of Anna.)

Anna. Yes, he melted into the air. I ran and opened the door. Mammy was
standing there. (All look at Mammy.) And she said that no one had left
the room.

Mammy. (With a malicious look) I didn't see anyone leave this room.

Anna. (Wildly) But you must have heard him talking to me when you came
down the hall.

Mammy. I only heard you--talking to yourself.

(Annabelle down r. Mammy exits, leaving door open.)

Susan. (Sitting r. of table. To Cicily) I'm afraid Cyrus West wasn't
the only lunatic in our family. (Looks at Annabelle.) When a woman
begins to talk to herself, and to see people vanish right in front of
her--it is curious.

Charlie. Are you trying to insinuate that Annabelle is losing her mind?

Susan. (Faintly) Oh dear, oh dear.

Anna. (Crosses to l. of sofa) You--you mean you don't believe me?

Charlie. (To Cicily) Certainly we do.

Paul. Certainly.

Anna. (At sofa) But you do think that I imagined Mr. Crosby disappeared
in front of me. If that's imagination--where is Mr. Crosby?

Susan. (Crosses to Annabelle) Probably out with Harry Blythe in the
garden. My dear, you are upset and nervous--I didn't mean to say you
were crazy--I was only trying to--Come, Cicily, let us go to our room,
and pile the furniture in front of the door. What with a dozen lunatics
in the house, it will be a mercy if we're not all murdered in our beds.
(Exit with Cicily.)

Charlie. (Crosses to Annabelle. Paul crosses up to panel, takes book
and opens it as if to read) Is there anything I can do?

Anna. Yes--yes--please find Mr. Crosby!

Charlie. Where--was he standing--when he vanished?

Anna. (Points to the exact spot where Paul is standing looking at them)
There. (Paul closes book with a slam and dashes madly round sofa r. and
sits.) Please try to find him.

Charlie. I'll do my best, Annabelle! (Exits giving them a curious look,
closes door.)

Anna. (Crosses to front of table l.) Paul You don't think I'm mad, do
you?

Paul. (Rising--doubtfully) Well, I guess i'd get goddarned mad if some
old chatter-box said I was crazy--but then again, if I really was
crazy, I wouldn't have sense enough to get mad.

Anna. (Sighs) You're such a help to me! Good-night!

Paul. (Crosses to Annabelle) But I want to talk to you. I haven't had a
chance.

Anna. Your chance will come later--it's almost one o'clock.

Paul. But I've got an idea

Anna. Keep it until morning.

Paul. But it may not keep until morning.

Anna. Run along now, and see if Mr. Crosby has returned. Good-night,
Paul. (Annabelle goes to chair at window.)

Paul. Annabelle, I really do think under the circumstances, honest to
goodness Goodnight! (Goes up to door. Turns at door.) I only wanted
to say that now I am here and you're here, too, how awfully glad I
was--glad I am--I mean that we both am--was---Good-night--

(Paul exits.)

(As soon as Annabelle is alone, she goes to the bookcase where Crosby
was standing when he vanished. She looks along the rows of books, then
she turns front, shrugs her shoulders and comes down c. Mammy enters.)

Mammy. Mr. Crosby ain't come in yet.

Anna. (In front of chair c.) Where can he be?

Mammy. I know. It's got him--the demon in this house. It's here.

Anna. (Nervous) Oh, don't--don't, please!

Mammy. (Crosses R.) All right. Your room is ready and remember you've
got to open that letter.

Anna. (Looks at letter) Oh, yes! Unpack my bag, Mammy--I'll be right in.

(Mammy gives her a mysterious look, and goes out, closing door in.
Annabelle crosses to table, looking at envelope, then Annabelle,
sensing danger, reaches up and turns off the light, leaving herself in
the dark with the maniac. She rushes to the door through the moonlight
from the windows, opens it and dashes out, slamming the door. The
monster's head appears above armchair c. as the)

CURTAIN DROPS


*


ACT II

Scene: Bedroom next to library.

Time: A few moments later.

A gloomy room with a four-poster bed up stage, l. c. Fireplace l. Door
r. c. Usual tables and chairs.

Discovered: Mammy is taking Annabelle's slippers out of suitcase on
chair near window. Mammy crosses to bed and puts slippers under bed,
muttering: "Rhonda! Rhonda! Spirit of Evil!" Door opens and Annabelle
enters from library, holding book in her hand. She shows a certain
amount of apprehensive terror--or fear. Something that frightened
her--in the other room. She closes door quickly and then her fear
leaves her as she sees the fire and Mammy.

Mammy. (At bed--as she enters, looks inquiringly at Annabelle) Why!
What is it?

Anna. (Smiles and shakes her head) It's nothing (Looks all around.)
Mammy, that fire is an inspiration. You have no idea what a difference
it makes. (Over r.)

Mammy. (Fixing covers on bed--and looking at Annabelle impassively) It
does make the room more cheerful.

Anna. (c. Crosses to fireplace l.) But wait until I redecorate it--I'm
going to have a real boudoir here. Mammy, this is--the most wonderful
night of my life. I can't realize that I've inherited this house and
this estate and everything.

Mammy. I hope you'll be happy here.

Anna. (Sees a large grandfather's clock in corner up r.) What a darling
old clock. (Crosses r. to clock.) Why, it isn't running!

Mammy. That clock stopped--twenty years ago tonight--just as Mr. West
died.

Anna. (Sets it with her wrist-watch and it starts ticking) Let's see
if it will go--I guess that's about right. Hear it--isn't that lovely?
(Listens to the tick-tock a minute.) Hear it? It makes the room cozier
than ever. (Looks around.) This house has character, (c.) Mammy--

Mammy. Yeh! (Crossing to chair r. c.)

Anna.--and I'm beginning to love it--more and more every
minute--(Crosses l. and changes her tone. Mammy works over to bag on
chair r. c.) in spite of--of--what the others said and in spite of
what--just happened.

Mammy. What was that?

Anna. Nothing really--(Over to Mammy r. c.) but--well, just a moment
ago--when I turned off the light in the library--I felt--or rather
sensed the approach of something--evil.

Mammy. Evil?

Anna. For a moment I felt trapped. (Shudders.) It was the same horrible
feeling I had when I was a little girl--hurrying up the stairs in the
dark--afraid something was going to catch me--

Mammy, do you think there could be anything in the house?

Mammy. Yes, spirits! But there is two kinds. The good ones that help
you and the others--like the one that was--behind you in the dark. That
was the demon that's got into this house.

Anna. Oh!

Mammy. As long as you ain't afraid--it can't get you.

Anna. (Stoutly--crosses l.) I'm not afraid--of anything. (Mammy
business with suitcase.)

Mammy. (With a sarcastic smile that only the audience sees. Finishes
unpacking grip, closes it and puts it on floor of window R.) Don't
forget that letter--Miss.

Anna. (Takes it, with animation) Oh, yes--(Sits in armchair. Looks at
it.) Uncle Cyrus gave this to you twenty years ago!

Mammy. (Few steps c. In a peculiar voice, watching her narrowly) Twenty
years ago tonight--just before he died on that bed!

Anna. (Rises. As she realises she must sleep on that bed, she shivers
and shows fear) Oh!

Mammy. (Quickly. Few steps nearer Annabelle) You is still a-scared?

Anna. No--I'm not--in the library just before you called, I picked up
this book without knowing what it was--it seemed to open itself at this
chapter--called "Fear."

Mammy. Fear!

Anna. Listen. (Annabelle sits in armchair l.) "Fear is a
delusion--Fear, or the belief in fear can be controlled and eliminated
by understanding."

Mammy. You believe that? (Coming c)

Anna. (Reads) Yes, I do! "Only the ignorant suffer through fear."
(Skips a couple of pages and reads.) "Take a bird--a canary in its
cage--put it on a table--then let a cat jump up and walk around the
cage, glaring at the canary. What happens? The canary, seeing its
enemy so close to it is frightened almost to death. But if it had
understanding, it would know that the cat couldn't reach it while it
had the protection of the cage. Not knowing this, it suffers a thousand
deaths through fear."

Mammy. But you ain't in no cage.

Anna Yes, I am. I am surrounded and protected by my faith and
philosophy and my friends. I am not afraid.

Mammy. But you is afraid for Mr. Crosby!

Anna. (Looks at Mammy with a startled expression) Why--why--I'd
forgotten for a moment. Could he have--no--if he had--you would
have seen him. (Mammy nods. With a note of entreaty in her voice,
Annabelle continues.) Are you--sure--you didn't see him go out? He
must have gone--somewhere--but where? Mammy--(Rises.) I couldn't have
imagined--that he was in the room with me, could I? (Crosses c.)

Mammy. (Mammy shakes her head doubtfully) No!

Anna. He was there--(Crosses R. of Mammy.) and--yet he's not in the
house--but he couldn't have (Desperately.) Mammy, I tell you he was
there!

Mammy. I believe you, Miss.

Anna. (Looks at her sharply) Well, if he was there--and you didn't see
him go out--where is he?

Mammy. I tell you--it--got him.

Anna. (Angrily--crosses l.) Rubbish--how could a--spirit--if there was
one there--take a man like Mr. Crosby--and--and--disappear with him? No
spirit could do a thing like that.

Mammy. How do you know it couldn't?

Anna. Well--I just know--that's all

Mammy. Huh! What was Mr. Crosby telling you--when he was taken away?

Anna. (Slowly--looking at Mammy with frightened eyes) He was telling me
about--about some danger that was near me--oh!

Mammy. (With a sinister look of triumph) You see! He was trying to warn
you about--it--when it--got him.

Anna. No--no. Impossible. (Puts book and envelope on mantel.) Absurd!

(THREE SLOW KNOCKS AT DOOR. First knock, Annabelle wheels around,
looking at door. Second knock, Mammy looks at Annabelle. Mammy looks
front. Third knock, Mammy looks at door and takes two steps toward
door, when it opens and Harry appears and speaks.)

Harry. Annabelle--may I come in?

Anna. (Harry comes down r. c. Annabelle looking at Harry keenly) Yes!
Yes! Where have you been?

Harry. Out in the garden. What is this about Crosby

Anna. He was talking to me in the library. I was sitting with my back
to him so I couldn't see exactly what happened, but when he stopped
talking--I looked around and he'd gone! Could--could--anything have
taken him?

Harry. Of course not. You don't believe in ghosts, do you, Annabelle?

Anna. (Uncertainly) No--no! But I thought I'd ask you.

Harry. (Gives her a curious look) As soon as I heard about it, I went
to the library and looked around There's no place he could hide--no
closets or anything. I don't understand it. Are you sure he was in the
room with you?

Anna. Yes, of course I am. Why does everybody keep asking me that?
(Crosses l. to fireplace.) It's all perfectly exasperating.

Harry. Annabelle, you're just working yourself up needlessly. Crosby's
an able-bodied man--he can take care of himself. Don't worry, its all
right.

Anna. I hope so. What were you doing in the garden, Harry?

Harry. Just looking around. Better lock your door to-night, Annabelle.

Anna. Why should I?

Harry. Just to be on the safe side. Perhaps I had better sleep in the
library.

Anna. (Excitedly) Why should you?

Harry. Er--in case you needed me.

Anna. (More excited) Why should I need you?

Harry. I don't know--you might get nervous, or something.

Anna. (Almost hysterically) What about?

Harry. Oh, Lord, I don't know--well, anyway--(Goes to door.) if you
want me--call.

Anna. Yes, I will. What time do you leave in the morning?

Harry. Early.--May I say good-bye to you before I go?

Anna. (At corner of bed) Yes, I wish you would.

Harry. (Looks at her) Good-night, Annabelle.

Anna. Good-night.

Harry. Don't worry, it's all right. (Exits with look at Mammy as he
closes door.)

Anna. (To Mammy) He wanted to tell me something--but he didn't dare. I
wonder what it was? Heavens, everyone seems to be acting so strangely,
I begin to think I must be losing my mind. (Cross to fireplace.)

(Mammy looks fixedly at her without speaking. Mammy is on her way to
bed with Annabelle's negligee when knock is heard; she puts negligee on
bed and opens door. Susan and Cicily enter clad in their negligees.)

Susan. Oh, Annabelle!

Anna. (Coming c.) Just a minute! Mammy, won't you please go and see if
Mr. Crosby has returned--look in his room (Mammy exits.)

What is it--anything happened?

Susan. (Taking Anna to stool l.) My dear--I simply couldn't sleep. I
just had to tell you--that Charlie absolutely misunderstood me--he put
the wrong construction on a most innocent remark. I never meant to say
that you were really crazy--I only thought that you were upset--my, my
dear, please say you understand!

Anna. (Kindly, but with double meaning--to stool) Yes--I
understand--perfectly. (Indicates for them to sit down.) Won't you sit
down?

Susan. (Sits in armchair. Annabelle sits on stool. Cicily sits on chair
near foot of bed) Annabelle--I feel it's my duty to tell you something--

Cicily. (Stops her--speaks quickly in low voice) Cousin Sue--you
promised you wouldn't.

Anna. (Turns around) What was that, Cicily?

Cicily. (Confused) Why--why--nothing of importance--Annabelle.

Susan. I feel it's my duty to

Cicily. (Interrupts her. Rises) Oh, your duty!--It would be a lot
better, Cousin Sue--if once in a while you would think of other
people's feelings--instead of your duty. (Goes r c.)

Susan. Heavens! Hear the child rave. You'd think I'd done something
terrible. Cicily, where's your respect for me?

Cicily. (Tearfully) I do respect you (Coming to Susan.) but--but--I've
felt so nervous ever since I've been here--and you pick on me because
it's your duty--and, oh dear, no one understands me! (Sits chair at
foot of bed.)

Anna. (Pets her) Come, come--Cicily--what's It all about?

Cicily. Something--happened--that would make you nervous--if you knew

Anna. Anything serious?

Cicily. No--just something that was told me--about the--

Susan. I am in duty bound to tell--

Cicily. No, now, Susan--

Anna. And I don't want to hear it (Rises.) I don't want to hear it! If
it will make me any more nervous than I am now. (Over to window.) I've
had enough for to-night--Susan, you may tell me in the morning.

Susan. (Asks abruptly) Are you quite all right now--my dear?

Anna. (Looks at her puzzled) Why, yes--of course--why do you ask?

Susan. I was anxious about you--you know you were--were a
little--hysterical in there!

Anna. (Sees what she is driving at and smiles) I'm all right, thank you.

Susan. Your health always been good--my dear?

Anna. (Brings chair down r. c.) Splendid. I need good health to work
the way I do--at my painting and dancing.

Susan. I suppose you've led a feverish life down there in the village
with those--those artistic folk?

Anna. (Smiles) No--never had money enough for that. (Sits.)

Susan. Ever have black spots in front of your eyes?

Anna. (Smiles) No

Susan. Ever feel dizzy? (Annabelle shakes her head.) Pains in the back
of your head?

Anna. (Annabelle looks at Cicily.) No.

Susan. But you have terrible dreams--don't you?

Anna. (Laughs) Only--when I sleep on my back.

Susan. Do you suffer much from hallucinations?--Come on, tell me!

Anna. (Seriously) No--but I have--I don't know what you would call
them--but they're--

Susan. (Eagerly) Symptoms!

Anna. (Intensely) That's it! I have them every morning--and every
evening.

Susan. That's the dangerous time, my dear

Cicily. What are they?

Anna. Every morning--as soon as I wake up--I have the queerest feeling,
it's some feeling--

Susan. (Her eyes popping out in excitement) Yes--you--I knew it--I knew
it--where--

Anna. (Points to her stomach) Here--and the funny part of it is--it
disappears--as soon as I've had my breakfast. (Laughs and winks at
Cicily.) I was just fooling, Susan. I'm just an ordinary healthy,
normal girl. If I weren't so normal I'd probably be a better artist.
Anything else you'd like to know?

Susan. I hope you're not offended at my questions, my dear? It's only
because I take such an interest in you, now that you're the heiress!
And I've been wondering if there really is anything in hereditary
insanity. It's in our family, you know.

Anna. (Rises--laughing) I'm afraid it's missed our side entirely, eh,
Cicily? (Placing chair near window.)

Cicily. I don't know anything about that--but it certainly missed our
side. (Cicily looks at Susan.)

Susan. Well--let us hope so Another thing, my dear--now that you are
the heiress, men will suddenly find that you are very attractive.
Beware of them, my dear--all of them.

Anna. (Laughing) All of them?

Susan. All of them! Every man who tells you he loves you--is only in
love with your money--they're all alike--there isn't a decent man in
the world.

Cicily. Oh, Cousin Sue--don't say that! There are lots of nice men in
the world. Who could be nicer than those--three men?

Susan. (Loftily) Dumb-bells--my dear--all of them--dumb-bells.

(Annabelle goes to the window.)

Cicily. (Firing up) I don't think so at all--I think Charlie is awfully
sweet.

Susan. An overgrown ribbon clerk--a bluff--and as cold as a dead fish.

Cicily. You can't say that about Paul. (Interest from Annabelle.) He's
real cute--and he has such expressive feet.

Susan. Paul! He! He don't know anything--not even his own mind. And
he's as timid as a rabbit, my dear. Never trust a man with wiggly
feet--they're treacherous.

Anna. (Laughing--goes c.) Let's get them all in. What about Harry?

Susan. He's the biggest fool of the lot. Every time he looks at me he
begins to laugh.

Anna. (With mock gravity) Really? You know men--don't you?

Susan. I do--and that's why I'm warning you about these fourth- and
fifth-rate cousins of yours. (Rises. Crosses to Annabelle.) Take my
advice and get rid of them as soon as you can. Goodnight, dear--(Cicily
rises.) and I hope you won't have any more--more (Goes to door, turns
and speaks firmly.) Annabelle, I feel it's my duty to tell you something--

(Cicily interrupts Susan.)

Cicily. Susan--

Susan. Don't you dare to interrupt me! Annabelle, they made me promise
that I wouldn't tell you about the dreadful maniac--who's prowling
around the house.

(Annabelle aghast--the scene switches to the serious.)

Anna. What are you saying--a maniac--in this house?

Cicily. Yes--and the guard--

Susan. (Comes to her) The guard from the asylum was here, he had
traced him to this house. He's a terrible old person. He thinks he's a
cat--and goes around ripping people wide open. They made me promise I
wouldn't tell you but I felt it my duty to warn you--because if we are
all going to be murdered in our beds--I think we ought to know about
it...

Cicily. If there's anything in anticipation, Cousin Sue--you've been
murdered a dozen times.

Anna. So that's why Harry was so mysterious--that's what he wanted to
tell me--

Cicily. Harry wanted to warn us but Mr. Crosby and Charlie wouldn't let
him.

Anna. (Almost to herself) I wonder if that was what Mr. Crosby was
trying to tell me--

Susan. (With terror) Perhaps--perhaps--he got Mr. Crosby--

Anna. (Gasps) Then he must be in the house.

Susan. He must be. (Whispers.) He must be sneaking around the
hall--now--waiting to jump on us--I could scream--

Anna. (White but calm) Yes--if he got Mr. Crosby--then--he must be in
the house.

Susan. (Hysterically) Maybe he's out there now--waiting for us.

(DOOR BANGS and Paul enters. At bang a scream from the three girls as
they fly over l. Susan l. corner, Cicily l. of Susan and Annabelle down
extreme l.)

Paul. (Dashes in, slams door after him--white with terror and hair
standing on end, he stammers in his fright. Points at door) Out in the
hall, out in the hall--something passed me--I couldn't see it--but I
felt it, it touched me--I heard it breathe.

Susan. You did (Door knob rattles.)

Paul. Look out. (All scream.)

Mammy. (Enters and fixes her eye on Paul) Why did you run away from me?

Paul. You! Was it you--that passed me in the hall?

Mammy. Yes, sir! (Paul falls in chair. Mammy to others.) I was coming
from Mr. Crosby's room--Mr. Paul saw me in the hall and he turned and
ran like a mouse.

Susan. (With triumph) You were scared!

Paul. (Rises) Well, I don't know that I was exactly scared--I may have
been a trifle nervous--you see, I was just coming--

Mammy. No, sir, you was going!

Paul. (Few steps r.) Well--maybe I was--

Anna. You see, Paul, you were frightened by an idea--a delusion. You
thought Mammy was a ghost and she frightened you. Your fear was nothing
but imagination.

Susan. (Exchanges knowing look with Cicily and says soothingly)
Yes--yes, my dear, no doubt--you're right. But all the same if I were
you I'd lock the door to-night and look under the bed. That's what I'm
going to do.

Anna. Really! (Begins to laugh.)

Susan. Don't laugh, my dear. I've never gone to sleep in my life
without first looking under the bed.

Paul. (Going to her) What do you expect to find there?

Susan. Why, a man, of course.

Paul. (Smiling) Wouldn't that be terrible for the man?

Susan. Mr. Jones!

Paul. And then on the other hand maybe it wouldn't.

Susan. I don't know!

(Glares at him, takes Cicily's arm and goes to door) Come, Cicily, let
us go to bed--we'll feel safer there. (Exits.)

Cicily. (Wails) I'm afraid to go upstairs--in the dark.

Anna. Mammy--go along with them--goodnight.

(Cicily and Mammy exit. Close door.)

Paul. (Looks at Annabelle, suddenly embarrassed) I wonder if--well, I
guess it's all right, but on the other hand--

Anna. What's all right?

Paul. My being here alone with you. (Looks at her negligee and gulps.)

Anna. (Crosses l.) Of course it's all right. This isn't an ordinary
occasion, and besides, we're cousins, aren't we? (Sits in armchair l.)

Paul. Yes, we're fifth or sixth cousins. But Somehow you seem like a
perfect stranger to me. (Crosses l. to Annabelle.)

Anna. Is that why you acted so queerly when we met in the other room?

Paul. Yes. It didn't seem possible that you--were Annabelle West, my
little--(Annabelle looks at him. Gulps.) the little girl I used to know
in Wickford--so long ago.

Anna. (Looking front) It must have been all of five years.

Paul. Five years and eleven months--(Annabelle looks at Paul.) yes,
five years and eleven months--since you left Wickford and went to New
York to study Art. Remember, you always wanted to be a great artist or
a trained nurse.

Anna. (Smiles and nods) And you were going to be a great surgeon--and so

Paul. I went to college and became a horse doctor. The folks never did
think I'd amount to much--no--but on the other hand, well, I've got
ideas. I've got one now. (Crosses to stool l. and sits.)

Anna. I'm sure you have! But--isn't--it strange for us to meet like
this--after five years?

Paul. Well, maybe it is strange--but I think it's wonderful. I used to
think about you a lot.

Anna. (Pleased) You did! Really! How nice!

Paul. (Embarrassed) Yes--oh, yes--no doubt of it--now that I
remember--I did think of you--often.

Anna. (Smiles) You don't seem to be quite certain about it. Are you
ever sure about anything?

Paul. (Seriously--swinging stool around) There's one thing--I'm dead
sure about!

Anna. (Amazed) You mean that you're really positive about something?
(Looking front.)

Paul. (Intense) Yes, Annabelle--I--I (Annabelle looks at Paul. Stops
and gulps.) But on the other hand--you probably wouldn't believe me.

Anna. How do you know? You've never been really serious with me. Why
don't you try?

Paul. (Floundering) I am trying--but I don't seem to get anywhere. I've
been trying to ask you something for the last five minutes.

Anna. Then for Heaven's sake, stop rambling around and ask me.

Paul. I'm going to--just as soon as I get myself wound up.

Anna. Paul--about how long does it take you to wind yourself up?

Paul. I don't know--exactly

Anna. Evidently it's quite an operation

Paul. Well--this time--it's taken me five years--and eleven months and
I don't know if I'm wound up yet--but I'm getting set--to (Gulp.)

Anna. (Exasperated) Paul--what--are you trying to tell me?

Paul. Listen--Annabelle--I (Gulps.) You know I'm only a vet. (Annabelle
nods.) But from doctoring horses and mules--I've learned a great deal
about women, I mean that all three of them do a lot of things they
shouldn't do and without any reason.

Anna. Yes.

Paul. Yes.

Anna. What are you trying to tell me?

Paul. This--Annabelle (Gulps.) Did Cousin Susie tell you about
something that's going on around the house to-night?

Anna. You mean about spirits?

Paul. (Nervously) Well--not altogether about spirits. You know,
Annabelle, I'm not exactly afraid of spirits--but on the other hand you
can't see them--and (Looks around as if expecting to see spirits.)

Anna. You mean about the crazy man?

Paul. That's it. I couldn't tell you--but from my knowledge of women
I guessed that Cousin Susie'd tell you because she had promised she
wouldn't.

Anna. Yes--she told me--and it hasn't cheered me up any. I wonder if he
really is around the house, Paul?

Paul. I--I don't know--I don't know--but what I want to tell you is
that I'll protect you. I've handled wild horses and wilder mules and
there isn't a spook or a maniac living that I'm afraid of...

(GONG IS HEARD TOLLING THE HALF HOUR. Paul's knees are knocking
together. Paul rises and crosses l.)

Paul. Good Lord--that gong again.

Anna. It's only the clock, Paul, see?

Paul. (Mops his brow, crosses c.) Lord--I thought it was that other
gong. The one Mammy said was tolling for someone's death to-night!

Anna. (Shudders) Don't, Paul--please don't talk about it

Paul. (Crossing to her) I'm awfully sorry

Anna. (Smiles) You were saying that

Paul. I was saying that I wasn't afraid (Breaks off and grins at her.)
You know I'm lying, don't you? I'm scared stiff--but I'm always like
that--I always get nervous when I go into action. Every time we went
over the top I was paralyzed--but I had to go--scared or not. So scared
or not--if that maniac is in your house, I'm going to get him.

Anna. You always did fight for me, didn't you, Paul? Even away back
there in Wickford when you used to carry my books to school!

Paul. (Sits on arm of chair) I'll never forget those days.

Anna. Remember the time big Jim Daly pulled my hair? (Paul nods.)
Remember how you flew at him (She doubles up her fists.) And what a
terrible beating--

Paul. He gave me. Yes, I'll never forget it. Seem I always got licked
fighting for you. Well I hope I have better luck (A few steps to c.)
with the lunatic-if I find him. Listen Annabelle! If you hear a rumpus
or anything, don't come out-just sit tight and yell like hell!

Anna. I feel safe now, knowing you are protecting me. Good-night, Paul.

Paul (Taking her hand) Good-night.

Anna. And good luck if you find him.

Paul (Up to door) Thanks! I'll probably need it, if he finds me.

Anna. Good-night, Paul.

Paul Good-bye!

Anna. Good-bye? Won't I see you in the morning?

Paul. God knows!

(Door opens, Paul gives a startled "Ah!" and flies out the door. Mammy
enters and goes to dresser with glass of water.)

Anna. (Seated in armchair) There's a man, Mammy. He's just naturally
frightened to death, but he conquers his fear!

(Mammy looks at her intently.)

Mammy. Don't forget that letter

Anna. Oh yes! (Starts for mantel. There's a knock. It stops her. KNOCK.
Mammy opens the door.)

Charlie. (Stands in doorway) Did I interrupt you, Annabelle?

Anna. Come in.

Charlie. You don't mind? (Coming down l. c. Mammy closes door and
crosses to window.)

Anna. No, I'm glad you came. I wanted to see you. Charlie, what do you
think has become of Mr. Crosby?

Charlie. I haven't any definite theory--I've been trying to figure it
out. It's very puzzling--but I think he'll turn up all right. You are
the one--I am worried about.

Anna. That's very sweet of you--but why worry about me?

Charlie. Just the natural feeling a man has for the woman he (Looks at
her sincerely.) Annabelle--you know how I feel--toward you. (Reaches
for her hand.)

Anna. (Turns away) Please, Charlie.

Charlie. This is a queer old house--and if--well, if you need me--just
call. My room is at the end of the hall, you know.

Anna. Thanks, Charlie, I know I can count on you. I guess I'll be safe
with all the men guarding me. Harry just told me the same thing.

Charlie. (Bitterly) So he was here? Leave it to him to get anywhere
first--

Anna. And, Charlie--I know all about that crazy man.

Charlie. So you know--about that?

Anna. Yes.

Charlie. And--he told you?

Anna. I'm not telling you who told me. (Smiles.) You ought to be able
to guess.

Charlie. All right. Now--I'll be ready if you need me--because I'm
not going to--I'm going to sleep with my shoes on. (A few steps r.)
Annabelle don't you think you could ever feel--a little--a little (Over
to Annabelle.)

Anna. Please, Charlie--I'm very fond of you--I'm awfully sorry.

Charlie. (Looks at her sadly) Good-night--Annabelle. (Exits--closes
door.)

(Annabelle goes up to bed and picks up negligee.)

Mammy. Don't forget that letter, Miss. Anna. Oh, yes (Crosses to
mantel--takes letter from back of mantel. Annabelle starts to open
letter. Mammy starts to go out.) Don't go--I want you to help me--just
the negligee! It's so late I'm not really going to bed--just lie
down (Opening envelope, reading. Mammy gets negligee from bed.) "To
my heir--man or woman--as you read--pause and reflect that this is
the twentieth anniversary of the hour that my spirit left my body."
(Looks up, impressed.) I could take no earthly possessions with me--I
was compelled to leave them to you--my unknown heir--your hour will
come and you will follow me (Annabelle becomes uneasy, gives a sickly
laugh then continues reading.) "In your brief span of life, enjoy the
glittering symbols of the world which I have renounced." (Looks up.)
Oh--it gives me the creeps. (Looks at letter.) Here's a verse. It's a
little more cheerful. (Reads verse.)

"Find the number beneath the vine;
The sparkling gems forthwith are thine.
Find the number; its rhyme is 'mine'!"

(Looks up.) What a silly little verse; but it's the key to the
necklace--it must be. Come along, Mammy--help me. (Crosses to mantel,
puts letter there.) "Find the number beneath the vine?" And then--what
number rhymes with mine?

Mammy. Nine!

Anna. (Thinking it over. Crosses to Mammy and unhooking dress as she
goes) Of course. Nine rhymes with "mine." And the date--today is the
27th--2 and 7--make 9--and--September--is the--ninth month; nine must
be the number.

Mammy. (Putting negligee on her) But you have two nines now

Anna. (Crestfallen) True. (Mammy picks up dress and folds it over her
arm.) But two nines make eighteen--and eight and one make nine. It must
be nine. Now I wonder where the vine is? (Business of looking around
room. Sees where Mammy is looking. Mammy looks at mantel.) There, Mammy?

Mammy. Nine! (Pointing to mantel. Annabelle crosses to mantel. Mammy
puts dress on chair at dresser and goes to door.) Need me any more,
Miss?

Anna. Not now, Mammy--if I want you I'll call--beneath the vine (Mammy
goes to door and turns the knob and opens door. Nervously.) Oh, Mammy,
put the key in this side of the door, will you?

(Mammy changes the key from the outside of the door to the inside, so
Annabelle can look at it.)

Mammy. Good-night, Miss!

Anna. Good-night, Mammy! (Crosses to door and locks it, then goes to
mantel and looks at scroll work, thinking.) Beneath the vine--the
vine--the (Annabelle's eye notices on the carven scroll work of the
fireplace a vine. With growing excitement she stands up and examine it,
then she counts the little carven knobs from the edge of the mantel)
1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--9. (The ninth is directly under the vine. She
presses it, a secret recess opens, and reaching in, she pulls out a
blazing necklace. She gazes at its beauty and stands in front of fire
to examine it; she kneels and puts it round her neck. The door-knob is
seen to turn slowly. She jumps to her feet, crosses to door, unlocks
it--opens it quickly but there is no one there--she calls.) Who's
there? (There is no answer but the echo of her own voice. The house
is deathly quiet. Taken with a sudden terror she quickly closes door
and locks it. She starts back to fire, gets her slippers from under
the bed. She sits in front of fire and begins to put on slippers. When
she gets first slipper on, there are heard three dull taps on door.
Annabelle looks quickly at door but thinks it's her imagination. At
second slipper, a scratching is heard on door. Annabelle rises, picks
up book on mantel to reassure herself that there is nothing to fear.
Then she starts to electric switch at l. of door but no one is there;
she smiles and says:) How silly. (Then she kicks off slipper at lower
end of bed, arranges the pillows. Then she puts out lights and gets
into bed. After wrigqlinq around for a moment to get comfortable, she
takes off necklace and slips it under pillow--gives a sigh and relaxes
into sleep. Then a long arm with a claw-like hand is thrust from
the panel With crooked fingers it reaches slowly, cautiously toward
Annabelle's throat as if to strangle her. As it touches her, she jumps
up in bed. The arm disappears--the panel closes and she screams.) Oh!
Help! Help! (She jumps from bed to the door. She tries to get out;
when she finds she can't, she pounds on door in a frenzy, and calls.)
I can't get out--the key is gone! Paul, Charlie, Harry! Paul, Paul!
(Annabelle faints.)

(There is a slight pause then Harry is heard running down the hall. He
raps on the door saying.)

Harry. Annabelle, Annabelle, did you call?

Paul. Harry, I heard Annabelle call.

Susan. What is it, Annabelle?

Cicily. What's happened?

(All this time Harry is pounding on door trying to open it.)

Charlie. Try the door, break it down!

(Door is broken in and Harry, with flashlight, followed by Paul,
Charlie, Susan, and Cicily dash in. Harry comes down l. of Annabelle
with flashlight on her. Paul to her.)

Paul. (Seeing Annabelle) Annabelle!

Charlie. What is it?

Paul. She's fainted. (Paul and Harry lift her and Paul places her in
armchair l.)

Charlie. What's happened?

Harry. (Turns on lights and looks at door) I don't know. (Flashing
light on Mammy, who is entering door.)

(Cicily crosses to Paul with smelling salts, then she puts on
Annabelle's slippers. Susan down stage r., looking out of window.)

Charlie. (Crosses and looks under side of bed) I heard her scream for
help.

Harry. She's had a shock.

Charlie. How did she get it?

Harry. (Looking around stage r.) I don't know. There's no one here! It
couldn't be her imagination.

Charlie. (Coming down c. Has been glaring at Harry all this time, now
speaks with a cold fury) It must be her imagination.

Harry. (Turning to Charlie. Startled) What do you mean--

Charlie. That you told her--

Harry. Told her what--

Charlie. Told her about the maniac after we'd all agreed to keep silent.

Harry. (Hotly) I didn't--

Charlie. (Cuts him off) Don't lie--you were here--you told her--

Harry. You're crazy. I didn't tell her a thing--

Charlie. (Violently) You're a liar--

(Harry, furious, starts for him with clenched fists. )

Cicily. (Turning to them) Charlie, you're wrong. Cousin Sue told her.

Charlie. (Crossing to Susan r. Furiously to Susan) So you're the one?

Susan. Yes, I'm the one. I told her because it was my dutv, and I'd do
it again.

Charlie. You ought to be gagged for the rest of your life. (To Harry.)
I was mistaken--I'm sorry.

Harry. (With menace) Save your breath--you'll need it later!

Charlie. (Sneers) Will I--really?

Harry. Yes. You called me a liar. You'll have to make good for that.

Paul. Sh! Quiet--Annabelle!

(All stand and watch Annabelle.)

Cicily. She's coming to.

Anna. (Comes out of her faint, sobs and holds Paul with a convulsive
grip) Oh! Oh!

Paul. (Soothes her) There! There! Annabelle, what was it?

Anna. (Still dazed, looks wonderingly at them) It came from the
dark--it--it touched me. (Points to throat.) Here! (Feels for
necklace.) It's gone!

Susan. What's gone--my dear?

Anna. My necklace--the--the hand took it.

Harry. What hand?

Anna. (Looks at him with frightened eyes and gasps) I don't
know--just--a hand.

Susan. (With incredulity) Just a hand! My dear Annabelle, you're raving
again. It's nothing but your imagination.

Charlie. (To Susan) Sh!

Anna. No--I saw it--it was here--it touched me

Cicily. (r. of Annabelle) But, Annabelle--if there was anything
here--where is it now?

Anna. (Vaguely) It was here--it--it took my necklace--

Charlie. There was no one in here--when we broke in, Annabelle.

Paul. If Annabelle says that something was here in the room--something
was in the room! Now, the question is, what was it?

Harry. (Cynically) Why not the maniac?

Susan, (r.) Ha! Even if he had been here--which he wasn't, what
possible use would he have for a necklace? (Few steps up stage.)

Cicily. (With pity--crosses to Susan. Paul crosses to dresser for glass
of water, gives some to Annabelle and puts it on mantel, then comes
back to her) Oh, the poor dear--isn't it a shame: What do you think.
Charlie?

Charlie. (At window) I don't think she saw anything.

Harry. (Crosses to Cicily) Well, I do. (Doggedly.) She must have seen
something--terrible to make her faint like that. Her imagination
couldn't do it.

Susan. (Coming down between Cicily and Harry) No! But an unsound mind
could! (Looks at them in triumph.)

Cicily. (Sadly) What!

Susan. Ha--I've known all along that Annabelle was as crazy as a March
hare.

(Paul looks at them.)

Charlie. That's absurd.

Susan. It's true. Didn't she say that Mr. Crosby vanished right in
front of her? (Looks at them ) And now she savs that a hand reached
out and took her necklace. Rubbish! If anything was here--where did it
go? People don't disappear into thin air--even if she says they do.
Annabelle is unbalanced. (Paul looks.) And I for one am going to see
that she is examined by a specialist!

Harry. You ought to be ashamed.

Cicily. Oh, Cousin Sue!

Susan. Don't Cousin Sue me! All of you--every one of you--think just
the same as I do--that Annabelle is crazy. (Paul moves c.) Only none of
you are honest enough to come right out with it.

(Harry goes up to dresser and puts flashlight on it.)

Anna (Who has been listening to all this, suddenly stands up) So that's
it--you all think I am mad.

Paul. I don't.

Anna. I know you don't. (Crosses to c. Paul works over to l. of bed.
Harry and Charlie start to say something. Annabelle silences them with
a gesture.) You've had your say about me--now I'll have mine. I've been
through enough tonight to drive anyone mad--and a few moments ago I was
hysterical--but now I can think clearly. I'm going to tell you exactly
what happened to me in this room and you're going to believe it.
(Pauses and looks at them. They all stand motionless, watching her.) I
found the necklace there--(Points to fireplace.) then--I felt something
watching me. The door-knob turned when I opened the door--there was no
one there--something was either trying to frighten me--or my nerves
were getting jumpy. I looked under the bed,--nothing there--then I was
certain it was my nerves. I turned out the light--and went to bed--and
then--just as I was falling asleep--I felt an icy breath sweep over
me--I opened my eyes and out of the darkness a long claw-like hand
reached toward me--it came--nearer--and nearer--I was like a person
in a dream--I couldn't move--it touched my throat--(Her voice gradually
gets higher in pitch. As she hits her climax.) I jumped up--the
hand disappeared with my necklace--I ran to the door--I couldn't
open it--I screamed--and that's all! (Susan gives Cicily a look and
smiles. Annabelle sees this.) You don't believe me--some of you think
that--(Glancing at Susan.) I'm mad. I'm not--I'm as sane as anyone
in this room. You must believe me--because what I've told you is the
truth--so help me God. (She waits a moment. No one speaks--but all look
at each other with a certain amount of guilt. Then Annabelle resumes,
with a new note in her voice--a note of triumph--a note of truth.) And
I'm going to prove it to you. The hand that took my necklace--(Turns
and points toward bed.) came out of that wall. (Slowly she turns and
goes to wall. Others watch her without moving. There is something about
Annabelle's personality that awes them to silence. She feels along the
wall near the bed, her nervous fingers press here and there, trying to
find the spring that will open the panel. After a moment's search she
accidentally touches the spring, and as the panel starts to open, she
steps aside with a cry.) There! (Which is cut short by a gasp of horror
as a dead body slowly falls forward into the room as the panel opens.
All stand without moving, horror-struck at the discovery of the murder.)

Harry. (Crosses to body, looks at the body's face and gasps in a low
voice) Crosby! Dead!

CURTAIN


*


ACT III

Scene: Same as Act I.

Time: A few moments later.

Discovered: Mammy opening door, allowing Paul to enter, carrying
Annabelle, who has fainted again. Then Mammy goes down to table l. and
turns on lamp. Cicily, Charles, Susan and Harry follow.

Harry closes door. Cicily goes to table r. and turns on lamp. Charlie,
at table l., pours out whiskey. Susan sits r. of table l. Harry at door
looking off l.

Paul. (Puts Annabelle on couch and motions to Charlie on knees in front
of sofa) Give me that--over there.

(Cicily offers him smelling salts. Points at bottle of whiskey on small
table. Charley comes over with glass of whiskey which Paul refuses.
Cicily takes glass and puts it on table l. All the others act in an
abnormally quiet manner. They have just been through an abnormal scene
[Crosby murder] and they are trying to keep calm at the same time. They
carry a terrifically tense atmosphere. Mammy, alone, is impassive. She
is like a sphinx. Harry walks up and down the room; Charlie stands
there--trying to think; Susan is almost out; she is sunk.)

Cicily. (Back of sofa) Oh, isn't it terrible! Poor Mr. Crosby

(Paul takes salts from Cicily.)

Harry. (Silences her with a gesture. At door. Mammy above table l.)
Yes--yes--

Charlie. (Goes to Paul) Is she all right?

Paul. (Shakes his head) Hasn't come out of it yet.

Charlie. God!--what she has been through!

Cicily. (Wailing) What are we going to do?

Harry, (c.) Wait a moment. (Closes door.) I'm trying to figure it out.
(Goes up to Paul and looks at Annabelle, then turns to others.) When
Annabelle recovers--no talk about--that--in there--(Points to other
room. Mammy moves to front of small table r. of door.) understand? (All
nod.)

Paul. That's right--not a word to remind her about it--she's been
through enough to drive anyone mad. Harry, what do you think we ought
to do?

Harry. (Speaking in a low tone) Listen, all of you--there's no doubt
about our having company in the house--Crosby's death proves that--and
Annabelle has been in terrible peril. But how did he--or whatever it
was--get in there? (Looking at Mammy.)

Paul. God knows. Crosby and I locked every window and door. Then after
you started for bed, I went through the house but didn't see or hear a
thing.

Charlie, (l. of sofa) Of course you didn't. The maniac--or whatever
killed Crosby--was hiding behind that panel.

Harry. That's just what I'm coming to--that panel. I'm wondering if
it would be best to explore it now--or to wait for the police? (Opens
door.)

Cicily. Don't go in there and leave us alone.

Harry. There's probably no one in it--now--and yet--there may be
something we don't ever dream of (Opens door and looks across hall.)

Susan. (Wails) Close the door.

(Harry closes the door, stands r. of it, looking off l.)

Paul. I know what I'm going to do just as soon as Annabelle recovers.

Cicily. Oh, is she all right?

Paul. Well, she's breathing regularly--and her color's coming back.

Charlie. What are you going to do?

Paul. I'm going through that panel, and I'm not going to wait for
anybody--not even the police.

Harry. (Slams door and comes down c.) Just a moment--now think it over,
according to the law--no one is supposed to enter a room where a murder
has been committed until the police arrive. You probably wouldn't find
anything there--anyhow--and you might disturb some valuable clues.

Charlie. (Turns to Harry) For once I agree with you; whoever killed
Crosby probably beat it. It isn't natural to believe that the murderer
would wait behind that panel to be caught.

Harry. Even if we found him there--we'd probably have to kill him

Susan. Oh!

Harry. (Continuing)--defending ourselves, Miss Sillsby. No, we'd better
wait. (Opens door and looks off l.)

Susan. (Moaning to herself) Oh, oh, what a terrible night.

Charlie. (Paul crosses r. to back of sofa, and Cicily comes round to
front of sofa, sitting l. of Annabelle. Crosses to Susan--sternly to
Susan) Miss Sillsby--look at me! Look at me! Are you now convinced that
Annabelle really saw everything she said she did? Answer me.

Susan. Yes--yes

Charlie. Then don't you ever open your mouth again about her being
unbalanced--do you hear me?

Susan. Yes--yes

Charlie. Now the first thing to do is to get the police and a doctor
(Goes to telephone back of table.)

Susan. (Rises) The police! And I'm in a negligee!

Harry. (Opening door wide and standing l. of it) Well, you have plenty
of time to change.

Susan. (Up to door) Yes, of course!

Cicily. (Rises and takes a few steps toward door) But I'm afraid to go
upstairs.

Mammy. I'll go with you, Miss.

Susan. Come on, Cicily. Let's pack up and get out of this terrible
house. (Susan exits.)

Cicily. Mammy, you go first.

(Mammy and Cicily exit. Harry closes door a little, looking off l.)

Charlie. Are we all agreed that it's better to keep out of there--until
they come? (Harry nods. Charlie takes 'phone.) Hello! Hello! Must be
out of order.

Harry. Probably cut.

Charlie. It's all right now.

Harry. Outside. (Closes door.) Paul! (Comes down c.) Did you and Crosby
fasten all the cellar doors when you were downstairs?

Paul. There was only one door. It has a bolt on the inside and I bolted
it.

(Suddenly a noise is heard downstairs like the banging of a shutter in
the wind--all listen. Two slams of door.)

Harry. (Cautions silence and they listen) Hear? That! (Door slams
again--one slam.)

Paul. Sounds like a door swinging against the house in the wind.

Harry. Listen! I think our--guest--has left us--without closing the
door. You locked the door, Paul--it couldn't have opened unless he went
out. He probably escaped while we were talking here. I'm going to see.
(Starts for door. Paul goes back of sofa to Annabelle.)

Charlie. I'll go with you.

Harry. No, you stay here and watch that door--in case--I'm mistaken.

Charlie. But--I want

Harry. (Insolently) Do as you're told.

Charlie. (Furiously) Why should I take orders from you?

Harry. Because I'm giving them to you.

Charlie. (Begins to smile) Oh, I see. Now that you believe it's
safe--you're going to be a hero in front of Annabelle--

Harry. (White with anger) Go down and do it yourself.

Charlie. (Taunting him) Oh, I couldn't rob you of that--honor.

Harry. Just--just come along with me--will you--I want to--talk with
you--alone.

Charlie. Yes, and I want to--

Paul. (Rushes over between them) Here, cut it out! Maybe I'd better
give the orders from now on--you fellows don't seem to be able to do
anything--except snarl at each other. I'm not much of a hero--but at
that--I reckon I'm as good as either of you. You fellows look after
Annabelle. I'll go and see about that door.

(Two men watch him as he exits.)

Anna. (Coming out of a faint) Oh! Oh!

Harry. (Crosses to back of sofa) Annabelle!

Charlie. Annabelle! (Crosses to L. of sofa.)

Anna. (Opens her eyes and looks at them. She smiles bravely at them)
Where's Paul?

(Harry back of sofa r. Charlie down l. of sofa. )

Harry. (Fixing cushions) He'll be back in a moment.

Charlie. Are you all right, Annabelle?

Anna. (Calm) I feel very weak. Did I faint again?

(Mammy opens door slowly as though she were listening, then stands in
door.)

Charlie. (Nods) Yes. Just after Mr. Cr--

Harry. (Silences him) Sh!

Anna. Is he--still there

Harry. (Nods) Yes--and no one must go in there until the police come.

Anna. Did you telephone for them?

Charlie. The wires have been cut.

Anna. The Wires are cut?

Charlie. Yes--but I'm going after the police myself--soon as Paul comes
back.

Harry. I think the most important thing to do is to get a doctor.
(Looks at Mammy.) Mammy, can you tell me where the nearest doctor lives?

(Charlie, in front of sofa, helps Annabelle to sitting posture. Very
attentive to her.)

Mammy. I could tell you--but you'd never find it--I'll go if Miss West
wants me to. (Starts to go.)

Harry. But, Mammy, aren't you afraid?

Mammy. (With a peculiar smile) Afraid! Me what's lived alone in this
house for twenty years! (Starts to exit.)

Charlie. (Stops her) Wait a minute, I'll go with you (Harry stands
behind chair c. Charlie up to r. of door.) Is the doctor's house near
the police station?

Mammy. (To l. of door) No--you go to the village--I go the other way.
If you'll come with me--I'll show you the road.

(Paul enters, goes to Annabelle. Charlie down c.)

Paul. (Down to Annabelle) Are you all right, Annabelle?

Anna. Yes. Mammy is just going for a doctor

Harry. (Coming down c.) Paul! What did you find?

Paul. (Few steps over to Harry) You were right. The door was open. It
must have been opened from this side, because I'm positive I bolted it
myself when I was down there. Mr.

Harry. Sh!

Paul. Never mind.

Anna. What is it?

Paul. (Explains to Annabelle) We heard a door swinging against the
house. The one I locked to-night. I went down and found it open--so I
locked it again, that's all.

Harry. (Crosses to back of table l.) I don't think there's any doubt
now but that our guest--has left us--I think we are all pretty safe
now--eh, Paul?

Paul. (Doubtfully) Well, maybe we are--but then on the other hand--you
never can tell.

Anna. (Shudders) I'll never feel right again--until Mr. Crosby (Looks
toward the other room. Paul sits l. of Annabelle, comforting her.)

Charlie. The police will attend to all that, Annabelle. I'll be back as
soon as possible. Come, Mammy. (Up to door. Harry above table. Mammy
exits. Paul takes Annabelle's hand. Charlie speaks to Harry in a low
voice.) I don't want any more words with you than I can help--but
while I'm gone--you just look after Annabelle.

Harry. (Smiles) There's no more danger.

Charlie. How do you know? The maniac may be in the house now. The open
door doesn't prove that he's gone--

Harry. (Loses his smile and he looks at Charlie) You're right--he may
still be here.

Charlie. And do you realize that another shock like she just had--might
kill her--or drive her insane?

Harry. (Nods) Yes--another shock might kill her or she might be--

Charlie. Yes, she might--or someone else might. Until the police get
here--look out for that room and don't believe yourself too safe.
(Starts for door.)

Harry. I know--you don't have to tell me. (Looking front.)

Charlie. (Coming down to Harry. Angrily but keeping his voice down) I'm
not telling you--because I'm worried about you. (Exits.)

Anna. (To Harry) Has Susan gone?

Harry. (Coming down l. to front of table) No, but she's threatening to
go. I believe she's packing up.

Anna. Oh, I hope she goes--(Rises.) you can't imagine how nervous she
makes me.

Paul. (Rising) Oh, yes, I can--she makes me nervous. I can't make her
stop talking.

Harry. Suppose she won't go? It's still dark.

Anna. (Crosses to Harry) You must make her go.

Harry. What!

Anna. I'll feel so much better when she's out of the house--Paul!

Paul. (Suddenly) Harry, I've got an idea. If she stalls about being
afraid to go to the station before daylight--you take her.

Anna. (With animation) Splendid--that gives her no excuse for not going.

Harry. Great Scott!! Have you people got a grudge against me?

Anna. You'll do it for me, won't you?

Harry. (Sighs) Yes, if you really want me to (Looks at her keenly.)
Sure you won't be nervous--staying here alone?

Anna. Alone! You forget--I have Paul.

Harry. (Looks at Paul with a curious expression, and replies in a
peculiar voice) Oh, yes--

Susan. (Enters, dressed for the street, followed by Cicily. To
Annabelle. At door) Have the police come? (Annabelle crosses r. in
front of sofa--Paul l. end of sofa. Harry moves l. to back of table.)
Oh dear! What a night! (Coming down r. c. There is silence for a
moment, then she starts again.) I just know it--I felt it in my
bones--the minute I entered this terrible house that something would
happen. And just to think it had to be poor Mr. Crosby--(Turns l.) and
it might just as well have been--(Looks at Harry.) you! (Paul, growing
uncomfortable, tries to stop her talking by glaring at her. Harry
stands listening with a cynical smile. Cicily nervous. Annabelle very
nervous. Cicily up stage c.) It's a wonder we weren't all murdered.

Cicily. Poor Mr. Crosby!

Susan. And I'll never forget to my dying day--how he pitched out of
that panel--nearly into your arms, Annabelle!

(Annabelle gives a nervous start.)

Paul. (Firmly) Miss Sillsby--stop talking.

Susan. (Flaring up) Mr. Jones--to whom are you speaking?

Paul. To you. I'm the boss around here and I command you to--to--to dry
up. (To back of sofa. )

Susan. (Glares at both of them) Well, I never! In all my born days I
never (She is speechless for a moment, then turns to Cicily.) Come,
Cicily--now, we're packed up, let's get out of this terrible house.
(Few steps toward door--then turns down to Annabelle.) I'm so sorry to
leave you, dear--

Anna. (Smiles at her) That's nice of you--but I'll be all right.

Susan. Perhaps I had better stay here after all.

(Harry and Paul exchange looks of dismay.)

Anna. Don't stay on my account. The doctor will be here soon--

Susan. But I wonder if there'll be any trains--it isn't dawn yet.

Harry. (Back of table at r. end of it. Smoothly) If you hurry you've
got just about time to catch the milk train--

Susan. Milk--train! I never rode on a milk train in my life!

Paul. You ought to try anything once!

Cicily. But Pm afraid to go and now--it's still dark.

Harry. Miss Sillsby--if you're really anxious to go--I'll be only too
happy to see you and Miss Young to the station!

Cicily. Oh! Will you--really? (Crosses to Harry and takes his arm.)

Susan. (Scornfully) Young man--I'll allow you to come with us on one
condition. You may talk with Cicily if she will let you--but--I'll have
nothing to say to you.

Harry. (Huskily) Can I depend on that?

(Susan, with a sniff, turns away. Cicily goes up to r. of door and
Harry to l.)

Susan. (Marches to Annabelle) Well, Annabelle--I am glad you are all
right because I was afraid the next time I saw you--you'd be non compos
mentis. Good-bye, my dear. I hope you'll soon be well again--but I'm
afraid you won't--

(Susan exits.)

Cicily. Good-bye, Annabelle! (Cicily exits, followed by Harry, who
closes door.)

Paul. (l. of sofa at back) She's just a nice little pal!

Anna. I don't think she's half--as--as malicious as she seems to be, do
you?

Paul. Well, I don't know. Maybe she's only one-half--but--on the other
hand, I think she's one hundred per cent, poison.

(Pause while they look at each other and gradually realize they are
quite alone in the house.)

Anna. It's rather nice to be alone--isn't it, Paul?

Paul. Yes, sir, it certainly is--(Shivers.) but it's kinda quiet, though

Anna. This is the first time we've been really alone to-night.

Paul. (Smiles) It's the first time--we've been really alone since you
left Wickford.

Anna. What was it you--wanted to tell me?

Paul. When?

Anna. To-night--don't you remember, you said you had an idea.

Paul. (Crosses his brows trying to remember) That's right--I did have
an idea then--but it's gone now.

Anna. That's nothing--you'll get another.

Paul. I'm not so sure about that--ideas are scarce with me.

Anna. (Smiles) Really.

Paul. (Soberly) Yes. Up at college--they used to say I only got one
idea a week but let me tell you right now when I do get one--it's a
bear.

Anna. What was this last idea about? (Moving over to R. of sofa and
indicates for Paul to sit down.)

Paul. It was about you (Sits beside her on sofa.)

Anna. Me! (Looking at Paul. Paul moves away from her.)

Paul. Yes--now wait a minute. (Thinks a moment, then the silence gets
oppressive. Whistles.) Gosh! It's quiet in here--I never knew a house
could get so quiet. (Looks all around, and as he looks at door, he
gives a nervous start, and quickly looks at Annabelle, who is watching
him.)

Anna. (Seems as if she were listening for something--speaks in a low
tone) Was that--that door really open--downstairs?

Paul. Yes--and I closed it and bolted it. (Chokes a little. Rises, back
a few steps.) You didn't--want me to--to--go down and see again?

Anna. No--no (Pause.)

Paul. (Looks at whiskey) Thanks--I mean much obliged. I think I need
a drink. Do you mind (Crosses to back of table. Annabelle shakes her
head--still listening. Fills glass and drinks half. Paul coughs and
chokes--but it has an almost immediate effect on him--as shown in his
bearing and in the tone of his voice.)

Anna. (Crosses to chair r. of table l.) Paul, do you really think
that--it--is out of the house?

Paul. Now, Annabelle--you mustn't think about it.

Anna. Tell me, Paul--are we--are we safe?

Paul. (With confidence) Of course--now doesn't it stand to reason
that--the door couldn't open itself? Of course it's gone--don't think
about it.

Anna. But suppose it didn't go out. (Sits in great excitement.)

Paul. Annabelle, you're getting nervous. (Paul drinks half of what's
left in glass. Business of putting stopper in decanter--then the
stimulating effect to drink.) You know it's wonderful--wonderful how
all my ideas are coming back to me. (Stopple business. Paul thinks a
moment, then snaps his fingers.) I've got one--

Anna. Tell me.

Paul. (Leans forward in his excitement. Looking front) The whole thing
just struck me as being darned queer.

Anna. What?

Paul. Everything. Right straight through from the start to finish.

Anna. You mean

Paul. From the time the will was read to-night--until now

Anna. (Interested) Yes.

Paul. Remember when you were declared the heiress? (Seated on back of
table, facing Annabelle. )

Anna. Yes.

Paul. Remember the codicil? (Annabelle nods.) That if anything happened
to you--or you were to lose your mind or anything--the estate was to go
to the next heir?

Anna. Yes, yes, I remember

Paul. And his or her name was in the third envelope

Anna. You mean the one that Mr. Crosby put in his pocket when he said,
"I trust that this shall never be opened!"

Paul. Exactly. And from that moment on, things began to happen to you

Anna. And to Mr. Crosby

Paul. (Sitting on edge of table) Because he was the one who drew up
the will--and he was the only one--who knew the name of the next
heir--unless--(Rises.) maybe (Crosses r. c.) and then again maybe not.

Anna. (Turning in chair to face Paul) Paul Jones--what are you saying?

Paul. (Silences her with a wave of his hand) Didn't I tell you that
while my ideas are scarce--when I do get one it's a humdinger?

Anna. Heavens--you don't mean

Paul. I'm liable to mean anything. Listen. This is just an idea of
mine, but you never can tell--it may lead us somewhere. All right!
Things began to happen to you in this house to-night, what for? To
scare you.

Anna. You mean someone was Oh!

Paul. Just a minute. Crosby got on to this plot--he tried to tell
you--before he finished, something happened to him--then gradually all
of them--I don't say they did it intentionally--but they started to
think and to say that you--were unbalanced.

Anna. And you mean--that all this was a plot to frighten me

Paul. I don't know--I don't know. (Goes r.) I'm just trying to figure
it out. Just seeing where my idea will carry me.

Anna. Yes, yes, go on.

Paul. Now, just suppose that someone--call it the next heir--thinks
that you--might possibly have inherited--the family--

Anna. You mean--the family failing.

Paul. Exactly--and they--that is he--she--it--well, someone starts to
frighten you--hoping to shock you into--or worse--then--it discovers
that Crosby is on the plot--so it--kills Crosby.

Anna. (Rises) No! No! Impossible!

Paul. Why is it impossible? The door-knob turning--locking you in your
room--the panel--the hand (Annabelle gives a little cry of terror.) I'm
awfully sorry, but don't you see--it is possible? The whole thing might
have been arranged to frighten you into--

Anna. No, no. How can you explain about that bell--and Mammy's warning
of Mr. Crosby's death?

Paul. They might have all been planted. (Crosses to R. c. Thinking.)
They might have all been planted--they (Pause.) Give Mammy Pleasant a
thought.

Anna. Mammy Pleasant! Why, she's not the next heir?

Paul. How do you know she's not? She might be--besides your necklace
alone is worth a fortune. She might be the next heir.

Anna. (Silent a moment, thinking. A few steps to Paul) But--that old
man who had escaped from the asylum--how did--

Paul. He might have been brought here to frighten you--now
suppose--just suppose that--(Annabelle gives a little cry.) now don't
get nervous--but just suppose that Crosby had brought him in the
house----

Anna. (Stops him. Crosses r. in front of Paul to front of sofa)
No--no--don't, Paul--

Paul. (Turning to her) Now don't get so excited. I'm just supposing,
that's all. Suppose Crosby had brought him into the house, then the
maniac suddenly grew violent--turned on Crosby--and killed him--

Anna. Oh, no!

Paul. (Long pause. Crosses to chair r. of table L.) On the other
hand--suppose I were the next heir--

Anna. (Smiles at him. Sits on sofa l.) Now, I know you're joking.

Paul. (Crosses to table l.) Well--I can tell you right now it's not
me--now who's left--(Sitting at table l.) Susan! Charlie! Cicily!
Harry! Take your choice.

Anna. It's fantastic--absurd.

Paul. Well--maybe it is--but then again maybe it isn't. But there's one
thing I'm dead sure of. Your brain is one hundred per cent normal. If
there's any insanity in this family--it's not in you. But the more I
think of it (Thinks a moment, then snaps his fingers.) I've got another
idea. (Annabelle, in alarm, leans forward. Paul crosses to sofa.) But
I'm not going to tell you about this until I'm sure of it. But--part
of my idea is this--law or no law, I'm going in there--and get that
envelope out of Crosby's pocket and find out who is the next heir.
(Starts for door.)

Anna. (Rises and holds Paul) No--no--don't leave me.

Paul. (Brings her to couch) I won't be gone a minute. I'll leave both
doors open and nothing can possibly happen--but, mind you, nobody must
know that I've been in there, especially the police--understand? Now
don't tell a soul. I'll be right back! (As he opens door.) See, I'll
leave both doors open; I'll be right back. (Sees him cross the hall
and go into the other room. Annabelle sitting on sofa, waits for him,
looking at door, then she turns her head away a moment. As Annabelle
turns her eyes from the door--A TALL MAN [Doctor Patterson] in black
clothes, wearing a black hat, glides into the room without making any
noise and stands looking at her. Annabelle turns and sees this man--she
shrinks in terror.)

Patterson. (Coming down c.) Miss Annabelle West?

Anna. (Whispers) Who are you?

Patterson. I'm Doctor Patterson--your maid just brought me over.
(Putting hat on chair c. Comes over and looks at her with a
professional eye.) She told me you were here--so I walked in--did I
frighten you?

Anna. (Trying to conceal her fears for Paul) Yes--no--I thought it was

Patterson. I see--your condition is more serious than I thought. (Looks
in her eyes a moment.) You've been under a nervous strain! (Annabelle
stares at him, petrified by fear. ) Humm! ( Takes a small pocket flash
and holds it near her eyes. Flashes it in her eye and watches the pupil
dilate and recede.) H'mm!--Your eyes hurt you. (Takes her pulse.) Very
quick action. (Mammy enters with glass of water.) Were you excited?

Anna. (Shakes her head) No.

Mammy. Feeling better, Miss West?

Anna. (Relieved at sight of Mammy) Yes--yes

Patterson. I'll take that. (Crosses to Mammy and takes glass. Indicates
with nod to Mammy to get out. Mammy exits, closing door.) H'mmm! Very
strange. (Crosses back of sofa, puts glass on small table r. Works down
round table r. to front of sofa.)

Anna. Strange?

Patterson. Yes--your actions--your eyes suggested 'a terrible worry--or
anticipation--you act as if you recently had a shock. (Putting pill in
water.)

Anna. Didn't--Mammy tell you about me--about the--the

Patterson. Miss West, I never discuss my patients with their servants.
Besides, your maid told me nothing. I think she's dumb. As I was
saying, your physical condition is normal--but your mental Tell me
about yourself.

Anna. (Hysterically--crosses c. to front of chair r. of table) Oh, I
can't stand it any longer. Why doesn't he come out? He went there.
(Points.)

Patterson. (Watching her keenly--crosses to Annabelle) He? Who?--and
where--is--there?

Anna. Paul--went in there--that room where--where--Mr. Crosby was
murdered. Charlie went for the police. Don't tell them.

Patterson. (Observing her narrowly) I won't--murder--police--yes--he is
in there--with that dead body--what for?

Anna. To get the envelope

Patterson. Yes--the letter

Anna. No--the will

Patterson. All right--and you're afraid? Of something in that room?

Anna. (Down l.) Don't ask me any more questions. Go--Paul! (Patterson
gives her another look and goes toward the other room. Annabelle waits;
as Patterson reaches door, he turns and looks at Annabelle.) Hurry!

(Patterson exits.)

Patterson. (Returns, carrying unconscious body of Paul) He was lying on
the floor. (Annabelle helps put Paul on couch. Examines Paul's head.)
Nasty bruise. (Gets out bandages.) He must have tripped, and as he
fell, he probably struck his head on the corner of the table. (Bandage
business.)

Anna. (Back of sofa. Cannot restrain herself any longer) Was he lying
near--near--

Patterson. Near what? (Cutting bandage but not looking at her.)

Anna. The--body--

Patterson. What body?

Anna. (Shrilly) Mr. Crosby--he was murdered there to-night.

Patterson. Drink this--it's merely a sedative. (Annabelle obeys him.
Annabelle sits L. of Paul.) Miss West--your nerves are completely
upset. There was no one in that room but this young man. (Sticks,
adhesive tape on Paul's forehead. Smells Paul's breath.) Did you have
some? (To Annabelle. Annabelle shakes head. Patterson grins.) The young
man probably had too much. He'll come round in a minute.

(Paul, after a moment, opens his eyes, looks blankly at them and asks.)

Paul. What time did the eclipse take place?

Patterson. How do you feel now?

Paul. Did you hit me?

Patterson. No--you must have hurt yourself on the table.

Paul. Nothing of the kind! Nothing of the kind! (To Annabelle.)
Somebody hit me from behind when I went in to get that envelope from
Crosby's body.

Patterson. (Startled) Well--you got 'em, too.

Anna. Was the body there, Paul?

Paul. No--it was not. While I was looking for it--someone slugged me.

Patterson. What's all this about?

Anna. I told you--but you wouldn't believe me.

Patterson. Yes, I believe anything you say.

Anna. But I (Mammy enters.)

Patterson. You're all right now--Miss West. Young man, you'd better not
drink any more. (Paul sees Mammy and crosses to her. Then he asks her a
question. Mammy nods--and points to the north. Paul nods satisfaction
and tells her something. MAMMY exits) I'll look in to-morrow.
Everything will be all right then. Both of you have been seeing things.
(Goes to Annabelle and feels her pulse.) Just to check up!

Paul. (Returns to Annabelle and Patterson--crosses to Annabelle) Pulse
normal, Doctor?

Patterson. No--take care of yourself, Miss West. I'll drop in to-morrow.

Anna. But Paul's head

Patterson. He's all right. Does it hurt you?

(Paul puts his hand to his head.)

Paul. No.

Patterson. (Looks at bottle) It never does. Good-morning. (Exits,
closing door.)

Anna. You say that--it wasn't there.

Paul. No--but someone else was. Who could it have been? (Crossing l.)
Who the dickens could it have been? (Groans a little.) Oh, my head
begins to hurt now.

Anna. (Soothes him--rises and crosses c.) There--there--don't try to
think. (Leading Paul to sofa.)

Paul. (Looks at her--owlishly from the blow--and the booze--he is just
a trifle stunned. Annabelle brings him over to sofa and sits him down)
I've just got to think, I've just got to think. I've just got to think!
Just as I had the dog-gone thing figured out--now it goes and gets
itself all balled up again--we saw Crosby fall on the floor--didn't we?
(Paul on sofa--Annabelle r. and Paul l.)

Anna. Yes.

Paul. He was dead--wasn't he?

Anna. Yes (Looks at him.)

Paul. Ha! Ha!

Anna. What is it, Paul--what is it?

Paul. How do we know--he was dead?

Anna. Why--why wasn't he?

Paul. I don't know. I suppose he was--but that doesn't prove it. I
couldn't swear he was dead--neither could you.

Anna. No

Paul. I got an idea--maybe the whole thing was only a plant--that he
was shamming all the time to frighten you and waiting in there to
wallop me?

Anna. (Shakes her head) Oh, no!

Paul. (Rises--unsteadily) You don't think much of that one.

Anna. No!

Paul. Well, neither do I (Crossing to table.) Guess my ideas aren't
coming as good as they might--since I got hit on the bean, but at that,
I've had worse.

Anna. Where's Mammy?

Paul. She's out. I sent her on a personal errand of my own.

Anna. I wish she were here.

Paul. (Crosses to sofa) Now don't worry about Mammy. (Sits.) I'll take
care of you. You know I'll take care of you, don't you?

Anna. Yes.

Paul. All right. Now where was I? Oh, I know, Mammy. I sent her for a--

Anna. (In sudden terror, thinks she hears something--cautions silence)
Sh! (She and Paul listen for a moment, then he looks at her.)

Paul. Think you--heard something? (Annabelle and Paul listen for a
moment then--) Oh, yes, I know. (He looks at her.)

Anna. (Trembling) I thought I heard--a footstep.

Paul. (Listens) Guess you're mistaken. I don't hear any--where was
I--oh, yes, my garage--

Anna. Your garage. You didn't tell me about that.

Paul. Didn't I! Well--I meant to--I've got the nicest garage in
Wickford. Most of the cars in it are flivvers--but it's a good garage.
One that any girl would be proud of. It's got a (As Paul looks at her,
he shows all his love for her in his eyes, but on account of Annabelle
being the heiress, he rambles around trying to tell her. Annabelle
tries to help him. She shows audience she loves him.)

Anna. (Softly) Paul, did you miss me--when I left Wickford?

(Door opens, showing hand.)

Paul. (Fervently) Did I miss you?--Did I miss you! (Suddenly
embarrassed. ) Sure I did--and when you went away--you didn't
think--that some day I'd own a garage, did you?

Anna. I hadn't the slightest idea. (DOOR CLOSES.) I'm glad you missed
me, Paul, but why didn't you write to me?

Paul. I didn't think you wanted to hear from me. Besides, I didn't have
my garage then.

Anna. Well, you have it now.

Paul. Y-e-s! But you can't ask a girl to marry you just because you've
got a garage.

Anna. Why can't you? Does having a garage make you tongue-tied?

Paul. S-see--here, Annabelle, are you making fun of me?

(OPEN PANEL SLOWLY.)

Anna. No--indeed--I'm only trying to help you.

Paul. You could have helped me more if you hadn't turned out to be the
heiress.

Anna. I'm awfully sorry, but I don't see why you should keep me from
helping you--with your garage.

Paul. But I don't need a mechanic. What I need is a
wi--oh--oh--well--you wouldn't understand anyway. You've been living
so long in Greenwich Village, with all those artists, you'd never be
content to settle in the country, in a little cottage with a little
garden around it and a--

Anna. Don't be too sure--I could live anywhere--anywhere with the man I
loved.

Paul. Could you--could you--honest?

Anna. Of course I could--so could any woman--if she loved a man.

Paul. (After a gulp) Annabelle, could you--could you?

Anna. Yes? You want to tell me--

Paul. (Rises and stands l. of sofa) I want to tell you--about a new
idea of mine--I've got an idea for a twelve-cylinder car--all twelve
cylinders all in a row. That would give the crank shaft thirteen main
bearings. Think of the power and flexibility.

Anna. Very interesting--but what about your idea of getting someone to
keep the little cottage for you?

Paul. (With determination, but hesitating)

Annabelle--would--would you (Sits beside her.)

(Noise like body being dragged along floor. Paul alert in a moment,
remains quiet and they listen. After a moment, a curious shuffling
noise is heard--like dragging footsteps.)

Anna. (White--clings to Paul) There--hear that?

Paul. (With his eyes popping out--listens a moment) Sounds like
someone dragging something across the floor (NOISE. REPEAT.) It's all
right, dear. (They both listen. Paul shakes and quivers and whispers.)
It's--upstairs. (Points up. Annabelle gasps.) I suppose I ought--to
go up there, but I hate to leave you alone. (Looks at her, showing he
doesn't want to leave her alone. Pause.)

Anna. I'm not afraid.

Paul. No! Neither am I (Rises.) Here, you'd better take this in case
anything happens--wait a minute, I'll cock it for you (Gives her
revolver.) Now all you got to do if you see something is just point
this at it--and pull the trigger (Starts for door.)

Anna. (Nods) Yes--but you

Paul. (He takes the mould of a hero) Never mind about me! If that's the
guy that beaned me a while ago--may God help him. (Opens door, turns,
sees drink on table l., takes drink.) I'll be back in a minute. (Glides
out without a sound. Closing door.)

(Annabelle sits on couch looking at closed door, then looks front. All
is deathly quiet. Annabelle jumps up and goes to door, opens it and
looks off l. a second. The panel opens very slowly. Annabelle crosses
to window, then back away a few steps, turns toward panel and gives a
little shriek.)

Anna. (With a trembling hand, points gun at panel. Her voice fails
her, and she speaks like a person in a dream) I--I--don't know why you
are trying to frighten me but if you don't go away--I'll (Annabelle is
about to fire the gun to summon help. Hendricks rushes into the room,
catches her and speaks gently. )

Hendricks. What is it, Miss--anything wrong?

Anna. (Clings to him frantically, sobs her relief and points to dark
corner, where monster is crouching) There! There!

Hendricks. (Shows his astonishment as he sees him) Gee--just in time--I
knew he was around here (Takes gun.) Close call, Miss. Don't worry--he
can't get you now--he knows me--he's afraid of me. (Crosses over r.
between chair and sofa. Hendricks goes toward monster and speaks
soothingly.) Come on--old-timer--I've got you--and you and me are
going home--come on--come on--I won't hurt you. Sure! He knows me all
right--and he won't try no monkey tricks.

Anna. Oh!

Hendricks. Now, Miss, everything is all right--and I'll just take him
along to the asylum, (Panel opens wider and monster comes out slowly.
To monster.) Come on, you--and no funny business. (Monster starts for
door.) Come on! Move along faster, can't you? That's it, go on.

(Monster is R. of door now.)

Anna. (As monster is gliding toward the door--she sees it for the first
time--out of the shadow. She darts forward, and with a quick movement,
before Hendricks can stop her--she pulls the Benda mask off the head of
the monster--revealing the face of Charlie Wilder. She gasps) Charlie!!

(Charlie, snarling like a trapped ghost, grabs her by left arm.
Hendricks claps his hand across her mouth, shutting off her screams,
and then the two men slam her down on the couch and hold her there.)

Charlie, (c.) How did she get wise?

Hendricks. (Holding her down l. of sofa--he is back of sofa) How do I
know? I got her--just as she was going to blow the gat.

Charlie. Sure, she did a dance with them down in Greenwich Village.
What did you do with Crosby?

Hendricks. Rolled him under the bed. (Annabelle tries to scream. ) Oh,
shut up! Another yip out of you and I'll--

Charlie. (Starts for door) I'll get him if it's the last thing I--

Hendricks. No, no more killing. I did everything you told me. I planted
the gong--made 'em think I was from the asylum and locked her in the
room and while I was doing that, you got one of your crazy spells and
croaked the old man.

Charlie. What!

Hendricks. And--if we're caught--I don't go to the chair with you--oh,
no, I'll squeal--and save my own neck. (Annabelle tries to scream.)
Shut up. What's the matter with you? What are we going to do with her?

Charlie. (Suddenly shows a venomous, unnatural hate for Annabelle) I'd
like to--

Hendricks. No--I won't stand for it--do you hear--I won't have
it--we'll tie and gag her and put her up there (Nods toward
bookcase.) I knew you couldn't drive this girl mad! From now on, it's
fifty-fifty--I want half of that necklace--and then I go my way--and
you go yours. I'm through with you--do you get me? (Annabelle tries to
scream.) Aw, shut up, will you!

Charlie. (Pays no attention to Hendricks, but is staring at Annabelle
with the grin of hate on his face) I'll make you scream, damn you! You
cheated me out of my inheritance. You didn't know that I used to play
around this house when I was a kid, did you? Well, I was the old man's
favorite--he showed me the secret passage--and I should have been his
heir, too--I am the next heir--see, there's my name--my name (Pulls out
Crosby's envelope and shows it to her. Voice gradually works up to a
hysterical pitch.)

Hendricks. Can it! You're getting one of your spells

(Here Charlie suggests that he might be the one in the family who is
really unbalanced.)

Charlie. When I opened that safe and read the will--I found out you had
robbed me--yes, robbed me. You thought I went for the police--ha, ha!
Well, I didn't, and here's your necklace! (Shows necklace.)

Hendricks. I want my half now.

Charlie. Try to get it.

Hendricks Oh! Double-cross, eh? Well, I'll take it all. Come on, kick
in! (Pointing revolver.)

(Charlie drops necklace and Hendricks stoops down for it and Charlie
grabs his gun arm and makes him drop it. Harry enters. Annabelle sees
him and shouts.)

Anna. Harry! (Rushes into his arms.)

(Charlie makes rush to door and meets Harry, who covers him with gun.
Paul comes through panel and makes a leap at Hendricks, lands on his
shoulders, and pins arms. Mammy enters.)

Paul. (To Harry) Thank God you're here--I'm scared to death.

Harry. Scared?

Paul. Maybe.

Hendricks. I didn't kill him. He did it. He's been getting crazier and
crazier. Just now he had one of his spells and tried to kill me.

Harry. Tell that to the Judge. Come on, you fellows, the police are
waiting--remember--I'll shoot! Now move!

Paul. (To Harry) Team work.

(Charlie and Hendricks, still holding up their hands, exit, followed
closely by Harry.)

Mammy. It's all right, Mr. Paul. (Mammy exits. )

Anna. (To Mammy) What's all right? (Turns to Paul.) What's all right,
Paul?

Paul. You see, that was just another little idea of mine. I
thought--that is, I got to thinking, after what you'd been through
tonight that maybe you wouldn't be so nervous if you were to wake up
suddenly and found me your husband.

Anna. What?

Paul. I mean found me by your side.

Anna. What?

Paul. I mean in the same room

Anna. Oh!

Paul. I mean in the next room.

Anna. Oh! (Relieved.)

Paul. I thought that maybe you wouldn't be so nervous, so I sent Mammy.
I sent Mammy for a minister.

Anna. Oh, Paul, you did have an idea, didn't you? (They embrace.)

CURTAIN


*

SCENE PLOTS
Acts I and III

A library in an old estate on the Hudson. It is set with panelled walls
of dark brown. Bookcases extend from c. back to r. and down R. to jog and
out to end of jog.

In center of bookcases (back) there is a secret panel, which is a section
of the bookcases, 6 feet, 2 inches by 3 feet. This opens on hinges like a
door and is controlled by a rod on top so that it can be worked from off
stage. When panel is open, there is a hanging piece of black cloth on back
of set to mask anyone standing there. Through this, two slits are cut for
hands to reach through.

At l. c, (back) a door swinging inward. This opens out to a hallway, and
across the hall is another door, swinging up. Interior backing for second
(up stage) door. Rugs on both sides of upstage door.

At c. (back) an oil painting of an old gentleman. Standing below this, a
small gate-leg table.

At r., above jog, a side chair. Down r. c, a sofa (high-backed Victorian)
with two cushions, set obliquely. At r. of sofa, a small table. At L. of
sofa, and somewhat above it, a high-backed armchair.

Down r. a safe in the wall, with a small door swinging on stage.

Down L., a window with exterior backing. Dark green portieres for window.
Down L. c, a library table. Side chair to r. of table and armchair to l.
of table.


Act II

An old bedroom in the same house, same dark color as Acts I and III. A door
up r. c, swinging on stage. Hallway backing for this door, with another door
set in backing and swinging off. Interior backing for the up stage door.

At l. c, back, a secret panel. This is a sliding panel, three feet wide,
which is lifted high enough for a man standing up to fall through. In this
panel is a small hinged door, about 14 inches square, cut one foot above the
height of the pillows on bed, opening up stage end off l.

Down l., a fireplace and mantel. In mantel, near down stage end, is a small
receptacle with hinged door opening on stage and up, in which necklace is
secreted.

Immediately to l. of secret panel, a four-poster bed. Beneath panel, a rug.
Large rug for fireplace. Coal scuttle at up stage end of fireplace.

In upper r. corner, a grandfather's clock. Below clock, a dresser with side
chair. Down r. c. a side chair with lady's traveling-bag. Side chair to r.
and below bed. Armchair l. and below side chair. Stool down l. c, near
fireplace.


PROPERTY PLOTS

Act I

Off Stage (l.): Decanter of Scotch. 2 highball glasses. Silver tray.
Sealed envelope with letter. Bunch of keys. Small bell (door-bell effect).
Straight jacket.

Near Panel (off r.): Benda mask (old man). Old overcoat. Black stockings
(footless) to cover Charlie's cuffs.

In Safe: 3 large sealed envelopes with enclosures, (will, etc.) in brown
envelope portfolio.

In Panel Door: 3 books. 

On Gate-leg Table:2 books and bronze statuette.

On Small Table (r.):Book and ash tray.

On Library Table:

Telephone and small book.

Act II
On Dresser:
Smelling salts.
2 candlesticks.

Bed:
Spring mattress and cover.
Sheet.
2 pillows and pillow cases.
Comforter.

On Mantel: Bronze piece.
In Mantel (Panel): Jewel case with necklace (sapphires and rubies).

Off Stage (r.):
Glass of water.
Metronome (clock tick).
Flashlight.
Small book with letter inside.

Act III

Off Stage (l.):
Pencil flashlight.
Doctor's medicine kit (small).
Roll of one-inch surgeon's tape

plaster).
1 roll, gauze,
1 bottle, smelling salts.
2 automatics.
1 glass of water.

Off Stage (r.) Near Panel:
Necklace.
Large envelope.
Mask.
Overcoat.

* Board 2 feet square, covered with sandpaper.
* Block of wood, covered with sandpaper.
* Effect of dragging body across floor.


LIGHT EQUIPMENT

Up stage must always be in shadow.

8 250 Watt hanging baby spots.

1 250 Watt stand baby spot.

1 1,000 Watt stand spot.

1 6 foot strip with 5 blue lamps.

1 4 foot strip with 1 dark amber lamp.

2 table lamps with shades, 4 10 Watt frosted amber lamps.

1 telephone bell off stage l.

1 panel with 2 60 amp. switches and cable.

2 6 way plugging boxes.

2 30 foot cables for table lamps.

Colors for Lamps:

Dark amber in baby spots, extreme r. and l.

Straw in other six.

Stand baby spot  amber and frost.

NO FOOTLIGHTS USED THROUGHOUT PLAY.


LIGHT PLOTS

Act I

Note: Upper part of stage must be kept free
from direct light.

At rise': 4 baby spots r. with table lamp.
On cue: 4 spots l. with table lamp on.
On cue: 4 spots r. with lamp off.
On cue: 4 spots l. with lamp off.

Act II

3 baby spots (250 Watt) on stand in fireplace.

Fire grate.

2 3 light candelabra with rose shades.

6 25 Watt ball lamps  amber for above.

1 i,ooo Watt spot on stand, blue (as in other acts).

1 250 Watt baby spot on stand, amber (pin spot).

1 2 foot strip with 10 Watt dark amber lamp.

1 dummy switch l. of door.

At rise: 4 baby spots in border with candelabra on.

1st cue: 4 baby spots in border with candelabra off.

2nd cue: 4 baby spots in border with candelabra on.

Act III

Rise: Dark stage.

1st cue: 4 spots and lamp l. on.

2nd cue: 4 spots and lamp r. on.

The eight baby spots are hung on a pipe and have mats to prevent light
hitting the back of set.
The direct rays shouldn't reach higher up stage than half-way between
sofa and set on r. and halfway between library table and set on l.

The 4 spots l. work with table lamp L.

The 4 spots R. work with table lamp r.


THE END


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