Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership


Title: Niobe, All Smiles
Author: Harry and Edward Paulton
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1304511.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: July 2013
Date most recently updated: July 2013

Produced by: Hamish Darby

Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html

To contact Project Gutenberg Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: Niobe, All Smiles
Author: Harry and Edward Paulton

*


Niobe, All Smiles.
A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts
by Harry and Edward Paulton

*

1904

*

CAST OF CHARACTERS.

Prince of Wales Theatre,Liverpool, 1st Sept.,1890.

PETER AMOS DUNN in Life Assurance (President of the Universal Insurance Co.).
CORNELIUS GRIFFIN in Love with Himself (Peter's Wife's Brother.)
PHILIP INNINGS in Corney's Hands (Corney's Friend).
HAMILTON TOMPKINS in the Clouds (an Art Enthusiast, a Millionaire).
PARKER SILLOCKS in Retirement (a Merchant).
CAROLINE DUNN in-dispensable (Peter's Wife).
HELEN GRIFFIN in Authority (Caroline's Eldest Sister).
HATTIE GRIFFIN in Open Rebellion (Caroline's Youngest Sister).
BEATRICE SILLOCKS in Love with Corney (Peter's Daughter).
MARY in Service (Parlor Maid).
MADELEINE MIFTON in the Way (New Jersey Governess).
NIOBE in the Flesh (Widow of the late Amphion, King of Thebes,a Statue.)

*

ACT I. Dunn's Drawing Room. Looking to the North. (7.15 p.m.) In the Absence of the Family.
ACT II. Same. Looking to the South. In the Presence of the Family.
ACT III. Same. Looking to West. Afternoon of the Same Day.

*

Time. Present.

Location. London.

*


ACT I.

SCENE. DUNN'S drawing-room. At the L. of front corner, a large bay
window on to the street; L. C. an arched opening with portiere to
stairs and entrance hall; R. door to dining-room. On the R. of entrance
a four-fold screen like a box case, surrounding Statue of Niobe, in
which is a Vampire opening at back. An opening also in Flat behind
screen. One fold of screen opens to L. of stage towards centre opening.
Two folds open to R. Small castors on the bottom of opening folds.
Piano R. below door; couch in front of it; table L. c.; chairs R. and
L. of it; piano stool, foot stool, chairs, etc.

At rise of curtain, HATTIE R. at piano; HELEN standing C., beating
time to HATTIE'S playing "The Maiden's Prayer" for opening of act;
CARRIE seated L. of table L. c.; BEATRICE seated R. of table,
discovered examining album, sketches, etc.; after curtain is up. MARY
enters from R. with three small cups and saucers on tray; HELEN up
c., takes one, drinks, MARY offers other cups to CARRIE and BEATRICE;
CARRIE offers one to BEATRICE.

BEA. (with album) Who in the name of goodness is that dreadful looking
guy?

CAR. That is Mr. Dunn when he was a boy.

BEA. Your husband! oh!

MARY after offering coffee to BEATRICE passes front of table to L.,
giving coffee to CARRIE.

CAR. Are you quite sure you won't take coffee?

BEA. Quite sure!

(After this MARY going up L. to exit c.)


HEL. (up c., sternly) Mary, the fire!

MARY goes to fireplace L., puts tray on chair; MARY poking the fire
HELEN eyes MARY severely.

HAT. (at piano R., finishes playing) Oh, Helen! That's twice this
evening I've played the "Maiden's Prayer."

HEL. (up c.; turning to HATTIE fiercely) You will play the "Maiden's
Prayer" twice morning and evening until you are perfect.

HELEN turns from HATTIE and drinks coffee.

HAT. (impertinently) Ugh.! I'd like to catch you saying your maiden
prayers twice morning and evening. (HATTIE turns, resumes playing.)

MARY. (advancing c. to HELEN, tray in hand) What time shall I order the
carriage round?

HEL. Seven fifty. (HELEN returns cup to MARY)

(MARY exits c. and R. at back.)

HEL. We shall be at the Theatre then before the Curtain goes up. (HELEN
advances R. c. severely watches HATTIE play with glasses on.)

HAT. (playing softly while she talks.) Well, you oughtn't to do it.
You'll lose caste if you get to your seats without disturbing the
performance.

HEL. (advancing to BEATRICE, L. c.) Beatrice, you are well posted on
Theatrical matters; is the play we are going to see to-night strictly
proper?

BEA. I know nothing to the contrary, (closing album.)

(HATTIE plays ff [loudly]).

HEL. (very angrily) Hattie! Take your foot off the loud pedal; we can't
hear ourselves speaking.

HATTIE shuts up piano petulantly: pouting as sits on couch, back to
audience.

CAR. (rising) I was sorry Mr. Sillocks couldn't come to dinner (goes to
window down L., looks out).

BEA. Papa regretted it very much, but he is sure to be here to escort
us. (crosses R. to couch and sits.)

CAR. I'm glad of that, because Corney is never satisfactory as a
Chaperon.

BEA. Oh, Carrie, I'm sure Corney is most attentive.

HEL. (L. c.) If you were his sister, you would not think so. He
neglects us shamefully.

HAT. (R.) Quite right, too! It's a pity if a fellow can't stick to the
girl he's spooning, (sitting R. and laughingly hugging BEA.)

HEL. Hattie! You are a very slangy child. Such terms are most improper.

HAT. Corney uses them, and I don't know any better way of saying it.
(crosses to c.)

HEL. Could you not say adhere to the lady he's engaged to?

(HATTIE crosses back to sofa.)

BEA. We can hardly consider ourselves engaged, while Corney is, so to
speak, on trial. If Papa approves of him, of course we shall be married.

(Business of HATTIE and BEATRICE quietly congratulate each other).

HEL. I'm sorry I cannot live with you and manage the household, but
Carrie could not get along without me. She has no talent for management
and Peter is too engrossed with outside business.

HAT. (laughingly) If you'd watched him at dinner, you'd think he did
not neglect his inside business.

CARRIE and BEATRICE laugh.

HEL. (sternly) I can see nothing humorous in that ribald remark.

CAR. (L.) A man of Peter's excitable temperament has enough worry
abroad, he deserves to enjoy himself at home.

CARRIE goes up L. to fireplace, puts cup on mantelpiece, as if looking
for something.

HEL. But he brings his worries home with him. I'm sure we didn't want
that troublesome Statue in the house, though Mr. Tompkins does think it
the greatest treasure on earth. He calls it Niobe Lachrymans, whatever
that means.

BEA. Why did Mr. Dunn bring it home? (knock and MARY crosses at back
from R. to L.)

HEL. For safety he says; it is insured in the Universal, of which Mr.
Dunn is Manager, for quite a large sum, and as Mr. Dunn granted the
policy on his own responsibility, he is anxious to guard the Statue
from injury.

BEA. (curiously) I should like to look at it.

BEATRICE rises, going up towards screen.

HEL. (interrupts her) Not while Hattie is in the room.

HAT. (on couch E.) Oh! I've seen it, and why not! It's decent enough.
She only shows a bit of her shoulder; it's nothing to the display at
Society balls.

HEL. Hattie! The child is incorrigible. (goes up R. c.)

CAR. (at fireplace up L.) Where are the Opera glasses?

HAT. Better ask Corney. He was at the Alhambra, last evening.

BEATRICE at piano, looking at music.

HEL. (turns) Oh, you dreadful girl! (door slams Off L. U. E.)

MARY. (L. c.) They're in the drawing room, Sir!

SILLOCKS enters L. c.; MARY crosses L. to R., always in front of stairs.

SILL, (c.) Good evening! Here we are! 7:30 to the tick! How's Dunn?

CAR. (at fireplace L.) My husband is very well, thank you!

SILL. How are you? (to HELEN, coming down c.) Hello, Bea. (to BEATRICE)
Ah! Hattie! (HATTIE crosses to SILLOCKS, c., who takes off overcoat.)
and the babies, my little cherubs, Bertie and Maud.

HEL. (crossing at back to fireplace) They are in the nursery; we don't
allow them in the drawing-room.

CAR. (down L. of L. c. table) They ought to be in bed; it is past their
hour.

BEATRICE crosses at back to fireplace.

SILL. Very early, isn't it? even for infants?

HEL. Judging from results, no! Look what a healthy child Hattie is. Few
girls have so fresh a complexion.

HAT. Unless they get it at the Chemist's. (SILLOCKS laughs.)

BEATRICE goes up L. to fireplace; HATTIE puts on SILLOCKS' hat, goes up
stage c. at back; places coat and hat on rack in halhvay; SILLOCKS sits
R. of table.

DUNN, (without R.) No! No! Everything is comparative; smoking is bad,
but chewing is a precious sight worse; and have you reached the limit
of comparative noxiousness then? No, sir; no! (DUNN enters with CORNEY
R. D. CORNEY crosses to BEATRICE L. ) Hallo, Sillocks! Did you notice
how Nitrates were at closing?

SILL, (coming down front in centre to DUNN) 92 and half a point
and a quarter rise. You're not interested in that Electric Light
Consolidation scheme, are you?

DUNN. (R. c.) No! There's no money in it. Well!! That's my opinion.

SILL. Aren't you coming with us to the Theatre?

DUNN. I? Oh no!

SILL. Why not?

DUNN. Not asked. Never intrude where I'm not wanted.

SILL. But your wife

DUNN. Well, my wife. They did ask me to go once or twice; but owing
to some business, I couldn't accept; now, I never get the chance of
refusing.

SILLOCKS goes and sits R. of table, opens album; DUNN up c., looking at
his paper.

HEL. (back of table) Peter, if you wish to see the children while we
are away, go up to them in the nursery. Carrie does not approve of
their coming into the drawing-room.

CORN, (advancing slightly down L.) Quite right! Children up to a
certain age should be kept in a room as devoid of furniture as
possible; the only way to keep them out of mischief, is to chain them
up to a ring in the wall.

BEA. What horrible notions you have Corney!

Leaving CORNEY, she goes up and crosses at lack to R.

SILL, (looking at album) Hallo, legs! (HELEN turns quickly, comes down
to back of table) You've got some choice specimens of the Ballet here,
I see!

HAT. (starting for table from R. corner) Where? Let's have a look at
them.

HEL. (commandingly) Stand back, Hattie! I must know before we proceed
any further, how this indelicate picture happens to be placed by the
side of mine, in the album?

HATTIE goes to BEATRICE up R., laughing.

CORN, (down L., aside) Hang it! I shall be ruined with Beatrice, if
Sillocks suspects me.

HEL. Corney!

CORN, (alarmed) Yes!

HEL. Do you know anything of this?

CORN. Why yes! Peter put 'em there!

DUNN, (down c.) What! I put them there?

CORN, (crosses to DUNN c. ) Yes, of course, now what's the good of
denying it, old man? (aside, digging DUNN'S ribs as he gets R. of him)
Say yes, or Sillocks won't approve of me.

CAR. (advances slightly L.) Is that true Peter? Did you put them there?

DUNN, (perplexed) Well (CORNEY looks at him) Yes I suppose I must have
done.

CORN, (over DUNN'S shoulder) Thanks, one extra lie can't press much on
your conscience.

CORNEY turns to BEATRICE, who is R. c.

BEA. I'm so glad it wasn't you, Corney.

CORN. So am I. Don't make such a fuss about it, Helen, there's no great
crime in having photos of pretty girls.

BEATRICE and CORNEY go up towards dining-room R. H.

HEL. (at back of table, with a withering glance at Dunn) Then we may
fairly assume that those yellow-backed French novels I found in the
study, are yours also?

DUNN. (turning c.) Mine!! Look here, Helen.

CORN, (turns quickly, coming back to c.) Helen! You're too prying by
half! Peter never imagined for a moment that you'd rake them out.

Dunn looks at CORNEY inquiringly.

HAT. (R.) Oh, Helen; they're not so very dreadful! At least, the one I
read wasn't.

HEL. What! Oh, Carrie! What are we to do?

CORN. There's not so much harm in these French books after all. They're
very much over-rated I mean, exaggerated.

DUNN. I suppose Dobbin sent them up in a mistake for a bundle of
circulars, (aside to CORNEY. with paper, his back to audience) What is
it? What's the idea?

CORN. Old Sillocks! Must stand well with the father. It's all right,
you can bear it. I cannot stand wrong.

BEA. Corney!

CORN. Oh, excuse me, Bea.

Joins BEATRICE and exits with her in earnest conversation R. u. E.,
after pushing HATTIE out of the way.

HEL. It is fortunate the servants are ignorant of French; it is a
blessing they cannot realize the enormity of your offence.

DUNN goes to couch, sitting.

DUNN. (c.) I'm as bad as the servants. Neither can I.

CAR. (crossing to DUNN, sits L. of him) It is fortunate we detected
them before the new Governess arrived.

DUNN. Yes; it wouldn't do to throw temptation in her way.

HAT. (R. of couch) When is she coming, Peter?

DUNN. I can't tell you that. She has started I believe, but has found
it agreeable to call on some friends at Leamington.

CAR. Then she may not be here for a day or two.

DUNN. It looks like it. She has sent her Leamington address, so she
probably expects a message from us.

HEL. (coming fiercely to Dunn) Why have you kept this knowledge from us?

DUNN. You could have had it any time for the asking.

HEL. Where is her note?

DUNN. There's no occasion to put on that tragedy queen expression. Here
it is (selects and gives letter.)

HEL. (crosses L. as she reads) Madeline Mifton, care of Mrs. Miller,
Barton street.

HAT. Did she seem a jolly sort of girl?

HEL. (turning L. corner) She's not engaged to be jolly!

HATTIE with toss of her head, goes up R.

DUNN. She appeared to me an agreeable kind of person, and the people at
Chester, where she was living, spoke very well of her.

CAR. (arm in DUNN'S) I hope she will be good to the children.

DUNN. Well! She looked the kind of person who would be good to the
children.

HEL. You have so little discrimination I ought to have gone to Chester
myself.

HELEN Goes up L. near fireplace.

DUNN. Well, nobody stopped you; and you have her references anyway.
(CARRIE soothes him and up to fireplace to HELEN.)

SILL. I'm sorry you're not going with us, Dunn.

DUNN, (crossing SILLOCKS and sitting L. of table) It's just as well as
it happens; I've had a letter from Tompkins, saying that he's going
to be in town for a few hours; he is sure to run in to look at his
treasures.

SILL. I saw in the Telegraph that he had bought the celebrated statue
"Niobe" from the Bernoldi collection; is that so?

DUNN. Yes! I have it here in the house. We have insured it for 10,000.

SILL. A good sum what was your idea of bringing it here?

HELEN, HATTIE and CARRIE up at back near fireplace.

DUNN. Oh! Mr. Tompkin's new mansion, at Henley, isn't ready yet; and I
did not care to risk it in storage.

SILL. You don't go in for curiosities yourself?

DUNN. No! No money in 'em! I've a genuine Rembrandt in the dining-room,
said to be worth 12,000.

SILL. Yours?

DUNN. No! Tompkins's! Come and have a look at it it may be your only
chance. Just as well to be able to say you've seen these things.

Exit SILLOCKS and DUNN R. D., both talking; HATTIE follows to door,
mimicking them; then turns to HELEN.

HAT. We ought to get our wraps on now. It's a quarter to eight.

HEL. (going c.) How impatient you are!

HAT. No more so than you; only you think it clever to look as wooden as
a Chinese idol.

HEL. Hattie! We'll leave you behind if you're not good.

HELEN exits c. and R. up stairs.

HAT. (calling after her) You'd send me to bed without my supper too, if
you could, only I have had it.

CAR. (with pretended severity) Don't be so forward, Hattie!

CARRIE exits c. and R. up stairs; CORNEY and BEATRICE enter from R. D.,
spooning.

CORN. Oh yes, Bea, if I asked you very sweetly, wouldn't you? (HATTIE
gets in front of them.)

BEA. Here is Hattie?

HAT. (laughing with hands behind her) Disturbed again, eh? Poor dears.
Can't you get left to yourselves anywhere?

CORN. Yes, here if you leave us. Get out.

CORNEY goes for HATTIE c.; BEATRICE drops down R. to couch and sits.

HAT. Now behave Corney, or I'll tell Helen who put the photos in the
album.

CORN. Be off, Miss Impudence (runs her off upstairs R. c.) That girl's
a terror, (returns to BEA, speaking as he comes down) You can't think
Beatrice (sits on couch) You can't think.

HAT. (returning) You can think; we haven't much time, Bea; you'll be
late.

CORN. Will you get out (CORNEY chases her round table and up stairs
c. and R.; he returns) She gets worse and worse! (looking back after
HATTIE.)

BEA. I didn't see anything so dreadful in the photos, Corney; if you
own up to them, I don't mind.

CORN. Oh, well! If you don't mind, I will!

BEA. I thought they couldn't be poor Mr. Dunn's; he looked so innocent.

CORN, (seated on couch R., laughing) Yes, Peter's appearance does
rather discount him.

BEA. It was too bad to infer they were his.

CORN. Oh, he doesn't mind. We put everything on to Peter; and I'm so
much afraid of your father's displeasure; you don't know the treasure
you are Bea; and the fume a fellow gets in for fear of losing you.
(with arm, round BEA.)

BEA. Why should you be so anxious? If your past was only blameless.

CORN, (absent minded) Yes! If it only was!

BEA. Do you tell me it is not?

CORN, (quickly) No! Of course I don't, you don't think I'm such a jay
gay gay deceiver? (turns slightly away) If we were only married. Then I
shouldn't have to be so careful.

BEA. Have you to be careful?

CORN. Of myself, yes! But then, you can take care of me; and I can
be careful of you; and I shan't have to invent stories about Art
photographs, or French Novels.

BEA. Novels, Corney?

CORN. Though they're not really mine; Innings brought them here.

BEA. We've not seen Mr. Innings lately.

CORN. Not for two or three days; he's away on business.

BEA. I thought he had no business to be away upon.

CORN. No! he has no business to be away, when I want him here, that is,
he isn't away on his business. It's business of mine.

BEA. (curiously) Business of yours?

CORN. Yes! well! pleasure more than business, when I say pleasure, I
mean business. I wanted a change but I couldn't spare the time and Phil
could, he took the change it was really my change; for he paid the time
before; you know how one fellow will take another fellow's change. He's
a most obliging fellow.

KNOCK AT DOOR; HATTIE runs down stairs.

HAT. Here's Mr. Innings, Corney!

HATTIE rushes off L.

CORN. Thank goodness I was getting a bit mixed. (goes L. as INNINGS
enters c. from L., HATTIE following.) How are you, Phil?

BEA. Good evening, Mr. Innings!

INN. Good evening, Miss Sillocks! (INNINGS down R.)

BEA. Come Hattie! (BEATRICE going up c.)

HAT. (c., gushing at INNINGS) Oh, there's heaps of time; it's so rude
to leave Mr. Innings.

CORN. (going up to HATTIE) You haven't a minute; the carriage is at the
door now; I'll do the polite to Innings. (CORNEY sees girls off c. R.
up stairs and returns to INNINGS.)

What kept you so long? I expected you yesterday!

INN. (taking off gloves as he sits on couch) I had more to do than I
thought. You said...

CORN. (c. anxiously) Never mind what I said; what have you to say? Your
news?

INN. Well! I went to Cambridge you know

CORN. And you have come back, I know, but what did you do there? What
have you discovered?

INN. I found Ethel

CORN. Good!

INN. Was no longer there

CORN. Then you didn't find her?

INN. (sitting on couch) No; nor the slightest trace of where she had
gone.

CORN, (goes L. and up round table) Then she'll turn up when least
expected; what a confounded fool I was! If the affair reaches old
Sillocks's ears, good bye to Beatrice; hang it! I'd have discovered
something if I'd gone. (sits R. of table.)

INN. (rises and coming c. ) It wasn't much, but I discovered something
I learnt that Ethel had a sister, a governess. Did you know Ethel had a
sister, a governess?

CORN. Yes, but I never saw her!

INN. Knew you'd think I hadn't tried, if I didn't find out something;
so obtained the address of Sister, at a situation in Chester went to
Chester; sister had left referred to a friend. Miss Topping; found
Topping; worked round stealthily to subject, but the moment I mentioned
Ethel's name, Miss T. shut up like an Oyster; no news there, except
that Ethel's sister, Madeline Mifton...

CORN. Yes!

INN. Had gone to a situation as governess, in London. Resigned a good
situation, for "some ridiculous notion" that's what Miss T called it
of coming to London, to look up or hunt down a young man to whom her
sister was or had been engaged.

CORN. (delighted) Ridiculous notion! Good for Topping! She might as
well search for a needle in a haystack I'm safe enough.

KNOCK AT DOOR; MARY crosses from R. to L. at back.

INN. I wonder she didn't pursue you herself, instead of putting the
sister on your track.

CORN. Well, Ethel is something like myself she cannot stand worry.

Door slam; enter MARY c. from L.; INNINGS goes to R. of table.

MARY. Mr. Tompkins!

CORN. Show him in, and I'll send Mr. Dunn to him. (MARY exits to L.;
CORNEY goes over to door R. ) Peter! Here's Mr. Tompkins I'm going to
the Theatre Phil, so I can't stop and entertain you. I'm immensely
tickled with the idea of the Sister coming to London to hunt me down. I
shall think of nothing else all the evening.

DUNN, (speaking as he enters from room R.) How d'ye do, Tompkins,
(INNINGS going towards DUNN) why, it's Innings! (DUNN down to couch) I
thought you said Mr. Tompkins was here.

CORN. He is here.

DUNN. Where?

CORN. There! (indicating hall off c.) How you do worry, Peter!

CORNEY and INNINGS exit into dining-room R., as TOMPKINS enters L. c.;
DUNN rises and meets him c.

TOMP. Let me thank you, Mr. Dunn, for taking such particular care of
my treasure. It was most considerate of you to bring it into your own
house.

TOMPKINS posing L. c.

DUNN. (R. c.) Not at all! I was anxious to have it unpacked, just to
make sure it hadn't suffered in shipment.

TOMP. (enthusiastically taking off gloves) Ah! you thought of the
centuries that beautiful form had retained its completeness, without
damage or disfigurement, and were impressed with a tender, almost
loving, care.

DUNN. Not a bit! I thought of the loss to our Company if it got
chipped. There was no sentiment or friendship in the business.
Sentiment's all very well, but there's no money in it.

DUNN crosses to window, L. c.; SILLOCKS enters from dining-room R.;
lights begin to go slowly down.

SILL. (R. c.) How do you do, Mr. Tompkins. I congratulate you Sir, on
the possession of such a gem.

TOMP. (L. c.) Beautiful, is it not?

SILL. (R. c. ) Grand! A painting like that

TOMP. Painting! I am speaking of my Statue, Niobe.

SILL. Oh, I haven't seen it.

TOMP. (c.) Ah, when you do! Where among your moderns is a work like it?
Where among your Sculptors, the peer of Phidias, Praxiteles, Scophas or
Polydorus of Rhodes?

DUNN. (L. of table) And which of the whole lot would compare with
Edison?

TOMP. Ah, Dunn! You are not familiar with the Elgin Marbles.

DUNN. Haven't played a game since I was a boy! (sits L. of table)

TOMP. (despondently) Sculpture is dead now Sillocks.

SILL. Don't despond Tompkins, it may revive!

DUNN. Sculpture's right enough in its way but it isn't in it with the
Telephone, or the Telegraph, or the Tape, or the Typewriter.

TOMP. Ugh! All such inventions tend to warp the noblest traits of human
nature.

DUNN. Statues are all right for decorating Parks, but there's no money
in them.

SILL. I'm in favor of the modern myself.

TOMP. And I sigh for the Antique (sits R. of table L. c. ) I should
like to have lived in the days of Homer!

DUNN. Not for me. I can't fancy existence without cheap postage,
fast steamers, and penny-in-the-slot machines. I countenance every
improvement. Move with the times I say, and get ahead of 'em if you
can. (rise) I'm getting the Electric light put in now; we make our
connection from the street here, just as you do with your gas.

TOMP. I hate gas. I would go back to the pine torch or the days of
candles!

DUNN. (L.) Yes! You're crazed on the subject of Early Greece.

SILLOCKS laughs.

TOMP. (L. c.) I am, and I glory in it.

SILL. (R. ) Well for modern tastes, there isn't always too much
clothing on our remnants of that early period.

DUNN. (crosses to SILLOCKS) You're right. That's one reason the women
objected to the Niobe; and it's decent enough for anything. The dress
is apparently split up a bit on one side, and shows part of the knee.

TOMP. (enthusiastically) A classic knee, Sir, which nothing in nature
Modern nature could equal.

DUNN. (c.) I did manage to have my own way for once, and there it is,
behind that four-fold screen, which boxes it in completely. It's nicely
out of the way there too.

TOMP. (rising) You'd like to see it, Sillocks?

SILL. Yes!

TOMP. A glorious figure, Sir! (Goes L. and around table.)

DUNN, (up c.) I suppose as Statues go, it is very well turned out.

Swings back fold of screen, showing Statue of Niobe; DUNN is now R.,
holding back two folds of screen; red glow from fire.

TOMP. (L. c. behind table) Lovely! What exquisite moulding That knee
especially!

SILL, (curiously) What's she supposed to be doing?

TOMP. (back of table) Weeping! You know the story of Niobe. The gods
wearied of her incessant tears: turned her into stone.

DUNN. She'd make an elegant ornament for a family vault.

TOMP. Sillocks! I would not take ten thousand pounds for that Statue.

DUNN. Sillocks won't tempt you!

TOMP. (with enthusiasm) This beautiful image was dug up in the ruins of
Thebes in 1785; it passed into the hands of a Florentine gentleman; but
in 1825 Count Bernoldi purchased it and it remained in his collection,
till I tempted his grandson, a spendthrift youth, with an offer he
could not resist. Oh, how perfectly that nose is chiselled, and that
shoulder...

DUNN. That cold shoulder

TOMP. (approaching Statue) What are those wires around the feet?

MARY, (who is seen busy in hall c. quickly) Excuse me, Sir, don't
touch them; the Electric man said as you were to be very careful with
the wires.

DUNN. The connection with the street is made then? (DUNN closes the
screen and lights go up again)

MARY. (c. in doorway) Yes, Sir! But he hadn't time to bury the wires
under the floor to-day; so he wrapped 'em round the feet of the Statue,
where they wouldn't be likely to hurt no one.

DUNN. Who the devil gave him permission to touch the figure? Don't you
know you are expressly forbidden to touch the figures?

Ladies come down stairs to hallway; CORNEY and INNINGS from E. in
hallway join them.

MARY. Miss Griffin, Sir!

DUNN. Oh Miss That'll do!

MARY exits at back R.

N. B. After DUNN closes screen NIOBE removes white wig, makes up, etc.,
for re-appearance in the flesh.

TOMP. Confound your modern appliances! They managed to get along
without them in Attica! Bah! We might all have been killed!

TOMPKINS crosses L. corner; lights going up.

DUNN. (c.) Not this time. The current isn't on.

SILL. How do you know that?

DUNN. (following TOMPKINS, crosses to window L.) Because the lights in
the street are not going yet.

HELEN, BEATRICE, CORNEY, HATTTE and INNINGS, and CABBIE advance from
hallway c.

CORN, (putting on gloves) Sorry Phil, that you can't come along with
us. (CORNEY down L. c. )

INN. I'm not dressed to go to the Theatre.

CAR. What a pity there isn't another seat?

CARRIE comes down R.; SILLOCKS gets up back of ladies to centre.

HAT. Oh, you must come, Mr. Innings.

HEL. (coming c.) If you will give up your seat to Mr. Innings.

INN. (protestingly) No, no!

DUNN. If you are all settled in your seats, let me introduce Mr.
Tompkins, Mr. Hamilton Tompkins, my wife (ladies get into line with
CORNEY top; DUNN waving His hand comprehensively) My wife's family.

CORN, (waving his hand) How are you, Tompkins?

HEL. We are delighted to meet you.

All ladies in row curtsey rather marked; CARRIE is R. corner, HELEN
next, HATTIE next, BEA next to CORNEY.

SILL. (c. at back) Come along, Mrs. Dunn; we shall be late!

CARRIE exits c. and L. with SILLOCKS.

CORN. Come on Phil, give you arm to Hattie, and pilot her to the
carriage.

BEA. Some of us will have to walk; the brougham will only hold four.

Exit CORNEY and BEATRICE, others following c. and L.

HAT. Mr. Innings can sit on my lap. (exits taking INNING'S arm.)

HEL. Hattie! I can do nothing with her,

Exit HELEN c. and L.; slam of door; lights slowly going down.

TOMP. (front of table) All your wife's family?

DUNN, (c., coming down) Nearly!

TOMP. Some of your own?

DUNN. Oh no! I married out of my own family circle into my wife's.
I got rid of one Griffin by changing it to a Dunn, and three other
Griffins sprang up in its place. Takes it out of the Phenix, don't it?
(rings bell on table)

MARY enters R. C.; DUNN signs to her; she exits R. D.

TOMP. (crosses R.) Griffin! Griffin! Was that your wife's maiden name?

DUNN. Yes! The Griffins of Brentford.

TOMP. (as if thinking, sitting on couch R.) Indeed! Unless I'm much
mistaken, there was quite a scandal years ago about a Miss Griffin of
Brentford, but that could not be your wife?

DUNN. No, but it might be Helen! And oh, if it were! Tompkins, if you
could only find out for certain, and place me in possession of the facts...

TOMP. (on couch) I certainly can and will with pleasure. I think (bus.)
she eloped with the coachman.

Enter MARY with trays, drinks, 3 glasses, Decanter, glass jug, with a
little water in it, and exit R. C.

DUNN. Helen eloped! Eureka! I see the dawn of emancipation Tompkins, do
I look like a slave? (c.)

TOMP. (eyeing DUNN) No, I don't see that you do!

DUNN. (c.) But I am, we all are, this is Uncle Tom's Cab'n; I'm Uncle
Tom, and Helen Griffin is my Legree. (crosses L. of table) But provided
with such a weapon, I could bear the standard of revolt and free our
beloved home.

DUNN L. of table with decanter; TOMPKINS follows DUNN to R. of table.

TOMP. The intelligence shall be yours, (sits R. of table)

DUNN. The few of my own people that are left, I never see, never hear
of. My own dear little sister Mabel has never been asked to visit us.
The Griffin has never fixed her Basilisk eye on her, and apparently
doesn't want to.

TOMP. The attendant ills of married life! Ah! The women will never
victimize me.

They drink.

DUNN. (sitting L. of table) Ah Tompkins! Don't be too sure of that. You
never know what it is that gives you indigestion, but you get it just
the same.

TOMP. I shall never marry, if you mean that; I would not marry a
modern, and I'm not likely to meet with an Antique.

DUNN. I've a Maiden Aunt; the one my Sister's with, who is antique
enough for anything.

TOMP. (interested) How far back does she go?

DUNN. Well, past the middle ages; she's over sixty; but it's the rarity
of her that would attract you, Tompkins!

TOMP. (indignantly rising, going R. ) Sir, I'm not forming a museum of
curiosities, but a gallery of Art treasures.

DUNN, (rising) Yes! Of course! Are you going already?

MARY enters from c. and L. with trunk; TOMPKINS putting gloves on c.

MARY, (c.) Here's a trunk, Sir, has been delivered for a Miss Mifton.

DUNN. Miss Mifton! Oh, the Governess's trunk. She said it would be
sent on. Leave it there, Mary. We'll get it carried up bye and bye. I
remember she said in her letter it would be sent on.

MARY places trunk near R. of c. doorway and goes to turn up lamp on
stand below fireplace.

DUNN. Never mind the lamp, Mary; I'll turn it up myself when I want it;
(MARY exits c. and R.) I like to sit in the gloaming! What's your hurry
Tompkins? Sit down and take another drink.

TOMP. I am due at the Antiquarian Society. A discussion on what History
owes to numismatics!

DUNN. Well, go and fix the amount and get History to settle up. Good
evening! Mary! Oh! Good evening, Tompkins! (lights down low)

MARY appears c. and R., ushers TOMPKINS out L. c., then crosses to R.
at back.

DUNN, (goes to Statue again, softly humming a tune) A pretty thing for
our Company if that idiot had damaged his Statue with those infernal
wires. Just like my beautiful sister-in-law, to give permission to wrap
them round the figure, just to show that my wishes were of no account.
I'll get a staple and padlock to-morrow; and fasten that screen up like
a packing case, (sits on sofa) I suppose the Electricity can't affect
the marble; ha! it's such a mysterious agent, one never knows what it
may do. P'raps I'd better light up. I wonder what's the matter with
the Electric lamps in the street? (crosses at front of table L. c.
and looks out of window) They're generally making the gas look sickly
before this must be something wrong this evening. Ah! There it goes!
(flash on electric light outside window, flooding stage, DUNN sits L.
of table L. c.) Well! That's light enough to think by. (low moan: weird
music begins) What's that? (moan) Some Psychological phenomenon! An
omen of some kind! (rising, towards window; NIOBE extending her arms,
pushes open screen and is seen moving, as if awakening to life; DUNN
slowly turns) Great Heavens! The Statue's alive! (Falls on knees at
chair L. of table.)

NIOBE. My feet! Oh, Amphion! Amphion!

DUNN, (looking at Statue) Is this nightmare? Am I dreaming?

NIO. My feet! This thrill! A liquid fire seems coursing through my
veins. Ah!

As if bursting the spell steps down from pedestal, remains, making
picture.

DUNN. No! No! It can't be that I don't drink to that extent.

NIOBE comes slowly down c., examining room in wonderment; goes round up
n. and then deliberately to c.; DUNN, who has crouched behind or beside
table, disarranges himself, tie, hair, etc.; then crawls round table
up c., as NIOBE turns and confronts him. He shrinks back on to knees,
hands on chair. Music ceases. NIOBE comes near DUNN regarding him with
amazement; picture.

NIO. Hail to thee! What man art thou? How came you in this strange
guise? Are you a slave?

DUNN. Yes. No. Certainly not! (aside) There's no use in letting every
stranger know I'm a cipher in my own house.

NIO. A Lord?

DUNN, (timidly rising) Lord and Master! (aside) I can truthfully say it
while Helen is not on the premises.

NIOBE approaches DUNN before speaking, he backs away from her.

NIO. How strange! (goes lower and regarding him, back to audience) How
strange!

DUNN. (with wonderment) Strange! She thinks, me strange! If she could
only change places and regard herself, and doubt the existence of her
faculties, as I do (NIOBE now moves, going up R. ) When I see her move
and hear her speak. No! I've got to believe it. It's the Electricity.
She's there alive, Niobe herself; not a Statue. And I'm not dreaming,
or drunk or demented, (staggers front of table)

NIOBE has looked round apartment.

NIO. (advancing c.) Who has made these changes? Where's Amphion? Is he
not yet back from Olympia?

DUNN. (getting L. of table, half frightened) I'm sure I don't know
he'll be some time yet; if he is staying for the Ballet.

NIO. Who has won the Kotinos of poetry? My Amphion was the Alutarches.

DUNN. Very likely! But he isn't now! I'm afraid you don't quite realize
what has happened to you. That you have just been revived I suppose as
it were: That you're not in your Palace here, but mine! That we are
now in Anno Domini 1896, and that the trifling events you're thinking
and speaking of, occurred about one thousand years B. C.; before you
changed your mortal flesh into Parian marble.

During this speech, NIOBE, her hand to her head, appears to be trying
to recall the past.

NIO. (as if recollecting coming down stage) Ah! No! The gods! Knowledge
returns; alas! Phrebus and Artemis punished me Changed! Ah fate! Oh, my
unhappy fate, (kneeling, sobs bitterly)

DUNN. (L. c.) That's a settler I never can; I never could bear to see
a woman cry. Never! There, don't grieve, dear; you were turned into
stone, but you've turned out all right; don't cry! Please don't cry.

NIO. Ah me! That I so easily am moved.

DUNN. Well, it took eight men to carry you in here.

NIO. (crosses L.) I'll dry these tears, the cause or my hard lot.

DUNN. The hardest lot ever put up; when you consider you've gone all
these years without so much as having your nose chipped off! Why,
you've been buried for centuries. ( NIOBE looks at him in wonder)
And if they hadn't started exploring the ruins of some of those old
Temples, you'd be there still. I'm aware it's a delicate subject with a
lady, but I should estimate you must be close on three thousand years
old.

NIO. (looking at him indignantly) How?

DUNN, (backing away from NIOBE) Oh, you don't look it!

NIO. (L.) Three thousand years! Oh, Zeus, and now the ban, the curse of
mighty Phffibus is removed.

DUNN, (c.) Yes! And Phoebus is gone, too.

NIOBE goes up L. behind and round table to c.

NIO. And all is new! Is this the Hesitaterion? The Throni are strange,
the Katoptron collossal.

DUNN. Yes, you've got to do things big now-a-days.

NIO. (approaching DUNN c.) You truly say, the ages have rolled by;
my husband, children, dead! In all the world, I have no one but you.
(taking his hand)

DUNN, (snatching hand away crosses to L. of her) No one but me! You've
no claim on me; that is I have no claim on you!

NIO. (quickly) Ah yes! I am no ingrate; take all my love; you gave new
life to me, and I am yours. (Falls upon his neck, embracing him.)

DUNN. White Elephants, what am I going to do with her? (NIOBE turns him
round to B. of her)

NIO. (holding him at arm's length) You are not much to look at; (DUNN
turns away) but your heart...

DUNN. (B. c.) Now don't count upon that. And don't indulge in
expectations that can never be realized.

NIO. Your mien is soft (hand on his head) Have you a noble name?

DUNN. Peter Amos

NIO. (gushingly) Petramos! Petramos! And I will love Petramos, as I
have loved Amphion; and there will be no happier twain in Greece!

She has taken his hands, and now swings them about childishly.

DUNN. Yes you're mapping it all out, but it can't be; for a variety of
reasons: In the first place, we're not in Greece, (crosses L.)

NIO. (in wonderment, getting c.) Not in Greece?

DUNN, (returning to her) No! We're in London, the Capital of a little
Island called Great Britain, hundreds of miles from Thebes.

NIO. You speak our tongue. And are you not a Greek?

DUNN. (L. c.) Not much! And we're not speaking Greek, but English
though how you picked it up is a mystery to me.

NIO. We understand each other, that's enough. What else there is to
know, I'll learn from you, now that I'm settled here.

Nestling up to and resting against him.

DUNN, (alarmed) But you're not settled here! And it's out of the
question! (he speaks very angrily and NIOBE starts to soft) No, no!
You're a very charming lady and personally I shouldn't object to your
stopping for a week or so, but I have a wife!

NIO. But you are Lord and could put her away.

DUNN. Oh could I! And she has an elder sister. Perhaps you could tell
me what I'm going to do with her?

NIO. It is not hard! Why, sell her for a slave! (pose)

DUNN, (goes L.) I should like to, but I don't think anybody would buy
Helen unless a great big life insurance policy went along with her;
besides Slavery is abolished, and if you weren't so ignorant you'd know
that; and know how wrong it is to fill one with delusive hopes like
these.

DUNN goes towards window.

NIO. Ah, be not angered with me, Petramos. If you reject me, life
restored is wrecked, and I shall die.

NIOBE kneels and sobs.

DUNN (returns again L. c.) Well, after three thousand years, you can't
complain if you have to. You've had a pretty good innings. She's at it
again. I can't stand hearing a woman cry like this, and she is pretty,
considering what a back number she is. Don't cry, stop it, don't cry,
please there's a dear, (patting her head)

NIO. (clinging to him rise) And you do love me, Petramos?

DUNN. Oh, well in a way! (NIOBE suddenly crying) Don't! don't cry! Yes!
Yes!

NIOBE instantly cheerful, standing erect.

NIO. And we will sacrifice to Dusky Dis; and pray him to take your wife
to Hades, (pose)

DUNN. But I don't want my wife to go to...who's Dusky Dis? Some Nigger
Minstrel?

NIO. The stern proud God of Tartarus!

DUNN. (disgusted) Oh, he's played out long ago; there's no such party
you mustn't suppose the world has been standing still while you've been
in a state of Petrifaction; we've been going ahead, and the gods have
had to knock under.

DUNN sits R. of table.

NIO. (c.) No Gods? No Zeus? No Aphrodite?

DUNN. Not one! Except in Heathen mythology, why you're a heathen.

NIO. I am!

DUNN. A Pagan idolater, and you'll have to be converted...

NIO. I was converted.

DUNN. Eh?

NIO. Into stone!

DUNN. Not that! You'll have to go to school, and learn the Piano, and
the Alphabet.

NIO. Alphabet Ah! (action with hands) Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta.

DUNN. (rises) Very likely! But that doesn't get over the difficulty of
what is going to be done with you; and look at it as we will you cannot
remain here.

NIO. (R. c.; after slight pause) I have no friends! No home! Where can
I go?

DUNN. Your case has not been altogether unprovided for; as there is a
home for lost dogs, so also is there an asylum for ladies in distress.

NIO. Can I go out into a vicious world in direst ignorance of all its
ways?

DUNN. Oh, I don't suppose it's any worse than it was in your time.
(NIOBE sobs) You're quite right, you can't, and it would be brutal to
send you out, at this time of night too.

NIOBE sits on front of pedestal.

NIO. The gods, alas, are angered with me still, (sobbing)

DUNN. She's at it again! No wonder the gods got tired. Don't! please
don't cry; and we'll hit upon some plan; if I only knew what to say to
my family, (stands dejectedly c.)

NIO. Say whence I came and how tell them the truth!

DUNN. Tell them what? What d'ye take me for? Some outrageous,
ridiculous lie might pass muster, but the truth, a truth like this! you
couldn't ask them to believe it. George Washington would have found
this too strong for his veracity.

NIO. (R. c.) Who is Washington?

DUNN. Oh, he was an American fghting man; you wouldn't know him. You
were before his time, (looks at watch, at window) Is that the time?
(goes round table to window; NIOBE meanwhile lies full length on stage,
head to R. on stool) They'll be home from the Theatre presently; what
am I to do? (turning up from window, comes down centre)

Sees NIOBE and covers her feet with drapery from piano and goes again
anxiously to window; MARY enters L. c., going to fire; DUNN rushes her
off R. c.

DUNN. I'll ring if I require coals. I'll ring, Mary, ring (coming down
c.) Madame! Niobe! You can't be seen like that, you must do something
with yourself ( NIOBE half rises) You'd better go upstairs and put some
of my wife's clothes on!

NIO. (kneeling) I tore my Peplos in excess of grief!

DUNN. Yes! Yes! I see you did; go upstairs, and dress while I think out
some plan.

DUNN R. as if in great worry, as NIOBE rises, moving up c.

NIO. (turning back) I fear I don't know how to dress myself.

DUNN. Oh, well, I can't! You must try, try! up the stairs there on the
right first door when you reach the top.

NIO. Petramos! (reciting) All my will I'll yield to thine, Do thou but
clear thy brow of fretfulness. Thy anger, linked with fury of the gods
I could not bear! I could not bear!

NIOBE exits weeping up stairs C. R., the footlights up through this
scene, to assist the comedy, now low again.

DUNN. (staggered sits end of couch a pause) What an uncompleted idiot
I am. My wife will recognize her clothes (running to stairs, sees
trunk which he secures and brings down stage) The Governess's trunk!
If my keys will only fit it, no, no! They never do Yes that's lucky!
(raising lid of trunk and closing it again) How clever you thought
yourself, Peter Amos Dunn, when you suggested to yourself bringing that
d--d Statue into the house. It isn't there! It isn't there! (closes
screen looks round straightens room picks up drapery, etc.; crosses to
mirror, re-arranges himself, tie, smooths hair, goes down L. of table
and pours himself a drink, hand shakes. He cannot get it to his mouth;
sops his handkerchief and putting it to his brow, crosses and sits on
trunk. Loud knock at door; DUNN jumping up; shoulders trunk and rushes
upstairs)

Knocking; MARY crosses R. to L.; INNINGS then enters, MARY following L.
C.

INN. Not back yet, eh?

MARY. No Sir! (going down L. to lamp)

INN. (looking at watch) Oh, well, they won't be long, it's close upon
eleven, (sits on sofa R.)

MARY. I will turn up the lamp, Sir, I thought the Master was here.

MARY turns up lamp; lights full on.

INN. They'd have stretched a point and taken me with them, but for that
confounded Helen. Perhaps they're walking, it's a beautiful night.

DUNN enters C. and R. down stairs.

DUNN. (worried and anxious down c.) Ah! that's right, Mary, let's have
a light on the subject (starts at seeing INNINGS) Back before them, eh
Innings? But they can't be long it's so hot, so late what's that is not
that a carriage?

MARY. No, Sir!

DUNN. (L. C.) I said not. I said not; don't argue, Mary; don't argue
(has got near table, takes up empty water jug and empty glass). Why have
you no water here? How can I be expected to wash drink if you have no
water (loud knock MARY frightened of him rushes round front of table to
R.)

DUNN backs to centre; he keeps water jug and glass until end of act.

INN. (R.) There they are!

DUNN. I knew they'd return (knock) They'll have to come in, won't they?
(knock to MARY) Go! Go! And open the door; don't stand there like an
idiot.

MARY exits c. and L.

INN. You're very fidgetty, Dunn, what's wrong?

DUNN. Wrong! Do I look as if I was, why why should there be anything
wrong? (Savagely to INNINGS; INNINGS afraid, crosses to L. corner.)

INN. I never saw you like this before.

DUNN. I never was like this before.

Falls into chair R. of table L. C.

HAT. (entering C., comes down to back of DUNN) Peter! (DUNN starts up)
It was too delightful for anything. I'm so sorry you didn't come.

DUNN drops again in chair as HATTIE goes R. taking off gloves, etc.,
etc.; CORNEY enters L. c.

DUNN. So am I. I'd have given a hundred pounds to have been with you.

CORN. (c., taking off gloves) Hundred pounds! Oh, come! What for?

DUNN. Wh...er...It's a favourite play of mine.

CORN, (crossing to L.) Pygmalion and Galatea?

DUNN. Was that it?

CORN. Yes! Lovely girl, Galatea. Never saw anything like her as the
Statue.

DUNN, (starting up) Statue! What's the matter with the Statue? (rushing
to screen, meets CARRIE, who enters L. c., coming front screen) Eh! Ha!
Ha! And did you enjoy it, Carrie?

CAR. (R. c. ) Very much, Peter! (HELEN enters L. c., remains up c.)

DUNN, (wild and exhausted with worry) Ah! How interesting those old
legends are; how beautiful the revive animating of the Statue! And if
you were told of such a wonder now-a-days, you you wouldn't believe it
perhaps.

Music till end of act. Comic Agitato.

HEL. (coming down c.) Now-a-days, nor any other time. No woman of
ordinary intelligence could he deceived by such a story.

DUNN. back to audience R. c., looking anxiously from one to the other.

CORN. (L. of table near INNINGS) And what's your idea of Galatea?

HEL. (going towards chair R. of table) That she was some infamous
creature whom Pygmalion had brought into his household; and that the
Statue tale, was made up to hoodwink his confiding wife, (sits)

CAR. Ah!! Quite possible.

CARRIE back of sofa.

DUNN. (falling on stool front of couch) No use! I knew the truth was no
use.

NIOBE enters R. c. in en eccentric but stylish tea robe.

NIO. (speaking as she advances c.) I have obeyed you, Petramos, and I
am here (all turn to her)

DUNN rises frightened, getting R. of NIOBE.

HEL. Who is this?

DUNN. (R. C. introducing) The new Governess, Miss Mifton!

CORN. Miss Mifton

INN. There! I told you so!

Looks at INNINGS and falls into chair L. of table, the others grouped,
scrutinizing NIOBE.

NIO. (with her accustomed action) Hail to you! (PICTURE.)

CURTAIN.



ACT II.

THE NEXT MORNING.

SCENE. Dunn's drawing-room, the opposite end to Act I. Conservatory
with steps at back c. Bay window R. Plain window or blank piece above.
Blank piece or Alcove L. Door above to Library. Table R. C. with
chairs. Couch L. Footstool L. C. Screen is not on; is supposed to be at
audience side of room. Piano against flat. Paper on table.

HELEN up c. and CARRIE at window R. dressed for walking; discovered
interviewing MARY, up L. C.

HEL. Can you not tell us Mary, at what hour she came?

MARY. I don't know, ma'am I didn't hear her come and I didn't let her
in.

HEL. You hear Carrie, he let her in himself.

CAR. (R. C.) I don't see why we should attach any importance to that!

MARY. No Ma'am, for she might have got in by herself; she is the
strangest person I ever met, Ma'am.

HEL. In what way?

HATTIE enters L., goes to couch, playing with mechanical toy.

MARY. Why, the name she gives things. She asked me at breakfast to hand
her the Mazas, and when I didn't understand her, she called me Helot,
and pointed to the muffins.

HAT. If you're talking about Miss Mifton, she is a treat. She's got a
new name for sausages.

CAR. If she will only be good to the children.

HAT. You needn't worry about that. If you'd seen the way she wept
over them, and kissed and fondled them. And called them Hippicus and
Alophagos.

HEL. (sternly) Who are they?

HAT. Oh, I didn't like to ask, some connections of her own, perhaps.

HEL. No doubt! They are sufficiently outlandish; the idea of a
Governess, wandering about the house in an extravagant tea gown;
impertinence I call it.

MARY. I suppose we're to take our orders from you as usual, Mum?

HEL. Yes! Certainly!

MARY. Thank ye! I don't want to have that person lording it over me.

MARY exits L. D. with an indignant toss of her head. CAR. (R.) She's no
doubt one of those highly emotional creatures, who grow hysterical at
almost anything.

HEL. (coming slightly forward) Carrie, you're so confiding; such
affectation wouldn't suit me.

CAR. But you always were superior to ordinary woman's weakness.

HAT. Weakness! Oh, there's no flipperty flop about Helen.

HEL. (advances towards HATTIE) Hattie! When you are more like me, you
will have more cause for self-respect.

HAT. Oh! I've nothing against myself as I am.

CAR. When we return you must examine her Helen, and find out if she is
competent to teach the children.

HEL. I will, but take my word for it, the Woman is a fraud. She knows
nothing that is desirable. In knowledge and learning she is little
better than an idiot; I could see that in her face last night.

HAT. Helen's a judge of idiots.

HEL. Hattie! You're growing more impudent every day.

HAT. Well, if I keep on, I'll grow out of it.

CAR. I wonder when Peter saw her, at Chester, that he wasn't impressed
with her appearance.

HEL. (with malicious meaning) Perhaps he was!

CAR. She might be the advanced guard of a gang of thieves, and Peter
has some such thought, perhaps, as he has not gone to the office.

HEL. Your confiding nature does you credit, Carrie, but you are too
ingenuous. He may be actuated by motives far less praiseworthy.

CAR. What do you mean, Helen?

HEL. I would not say Carrie, for I make it a rule never to stir up ill
feeling between man and wife. (going up c.)

Enter INNINGS.

INN. (on steps) Good morning, Ladies! Corney gone out yet?

CAR. He is still engaged with his breakfast. He is always late after a
Theatre night.

CARRIE exits C. and R.

HEL. (severely and pointedly) His indolence is a source of great
inconvenience to us all.

HELEN exits c. and R. INNINGS looking at HATTIE on sofa crosses to
window, putting hat on chair B. of table in recess of window, produces
"box of chocolate" which he places ready for business later; then, half
frightened, gets extreme R. at window.

INN (E.) They're gone!

HAT. (on sofa) Yes! I see they are! You didn't intend that for
information did you? It was only...only just a something to say...to
fill up a page kind of remark, wasn't it?

INN. (at window) That's all simply to call your attention to the fact
that we are alone.

HAT. Oh, you needn't have called; my attention was rivetted; but I
don't feel in the least embarrassed; do you?

INN. No!

HAT. Well why aren't you embarrassed? (rises, coming to c.)

INN. Don't see what there is about you to frighten a fellow.

HAT. I don't believe you're so bold as you pretend; judging from the
respectful distance you keep.

INN. Don't you want me to be respectful?

HAT. Why of course, but you needn't be distant.

INN. (crosses slowly to her) If I thought by coming nearer, I should be
getting dearer...

HAT. Wouldn't you be getting costly? You're pretty near now!

INN. (B. C. getting closer to HATTIE; HAT. bus. ) So are you, Hattie.
You're pretty near and pretty far, but the nearer I am the sweeter you
are. Ha! Ha!

HAT. Oh! You don't natter yourself much to think that your proximity
makes me sweeter. (Sarcastically; turning from him.)

INN. To me! I mean in my opinion! Oh, Hattie!

HAT. (quickly) What is it, Philip? (whisking round)

INN. (turning away) I wonder how long Corney usually takes over his
breakfast.

HAT. Oh, I can go and ask him, if that's all you want to know.

HATTIE going up L.

INN. (pulling her back by her dress; she in mischief runs for chair,
trying to sit upon his hat, which he saves) Oh, Hattie! oh my! oh! I
don't want to know particularly.

CORNEY enters quietly from Library up L., sees them and goes out again.

INN. It's good enough to stay here and go on wondering with you. Of
course I don't want to wonder by myself. Oh, Hattie!

HAT. Oh, Mr. Innings, (gushingly)

INNINGS, kneeling beside HATTIE, embraces her; CORNEY sings outside;
HATTIE and INNINGS hurriedly get away from each other; HATTIE goes and
sits on couch L.; INNINGS goes extreme B. to window recess.

CORN. (entering L. and down C.; sings) "When the heart in palpitating
is impressed with fear, You're pleased to find a being where there's
no one near And whisper foolish nothings no one else may hear, That is
love! That is love!"

Do you know, Phil, I've been haunted by that song ever since you
started me at it; Hattie's crazed on it too.

HAT. Oh, Corney! Why I'm only learning it.

CORN. Yes, but you've nearly mastered it I can see. (looks at INNINGS)
I interrupted your practice, didn't I?

HAT. (impertinently up in his face) I don't understand.

CORN, (pushing her up C.) Oh, yes you do! See if you can find my cigar
case in the Conservatory; I rather fancy I left it there last night.

CORNEY turns down stage L.; INNINGS gives HATTIE box of chocolates
quickly; as CORNEY turns on exclamation they separate.

HAT. Oh chocks! (to INNINGS) We can resume our conversation some other
time, Mr. Innings.

INN. I was going to ask you if we couldn't, and will you please make a
note of where we left off?

HAT. (sings) "And whisper foolish nothings no one else may hear. That
is love! That is." Ugh! (at CORNEY)

INNINGS stands up c. looking after HATTIE, throwing kisses to her
echo's "That is love That is."

CORN, (after watching INNINGS, swings down stage near couch) Come here
Phil! Never mind Hattie, she'll keep. Anything fresh? Have you learnt
anything new?

INN. There's nothing new to learn that I can see. Madeline Mifton's
here, and you've got to prepare for the worst, (lies on couch putting
his legs up.)

CORN, (c.) It is the most striking coincidence I ever heard of; that
the sister of the girl I jilted should take the place of Governess, and
come here, by the merest accident.

INN. Do you suppose it was accident?

CORN. Oh, come Phil you don't think it was design?

INN. I do! Didn't I tell you last evening that she was coming to London
to hunt you down?

CORN. Yes! But who could realize such persistency outside a Goboriau
Novel.

INN. Have you seen her yet?

CORN. Not this morning she's in the nursery with the children. She's
very like her sister. There's something wierd about her, but the exact
type of features. (crosses R. c.)

INN. What do you intend to do? Have you made up your mind?

CORN. Yes! (crossing back to him) I've decided to get you to talk to
her, Phil...

INN. (sits up) Me?

CORN. You can give it her straight show her clearly that I was cajoled
into proposing to her sister, that it was really Ethel's fault, and
that she's entirely to blame for the whole business, and there you are!

INN. I couldn't do it; it doesn't seem nice to throw all the blame on
to the girl.

CORN. It belongs to her, Phil besides, my boy, you know that the least
thing upsets me. I cannot stand worry; now you can; (INNINGS rises) you
have one of those oxydised-zinc constitutions.

INN. No, I haven't! I'm just as susceptible to worry as you.

CORN. You mean to say you won't do it?

INN. No! I can't!

CORN. You can't?

INN. (emphatically) No! Damn! there! I don't see why I should, (crosses
R. and round table)

CORN. Oh, well, then, Peter will have to do it. I'll get Peter to talk
to her. (goes L.)

INN. (up R.) That's the best way. He won't mind.

Enter DUNN from Library L. n. with scent bottle, pale and careworn,
crosses and sits on chair L. of table.

CORN. I'd rather you did it; because I shall have to disclose the whole
escapade to Peter. And he hasn't a particularly good opinion of me as
it is.

INN. I doubt if he could have a worse, so it can't make much difference.

CORN. (seeing DUNN) Good morning, Peter (DUNN scowls at him) Seen you
before though, haven't I? (to INNINGS) Peter looks jolly, doesn't he?
Innings, you'll find Hattie in the Conservatory looking for my cigar
case, which I have in my pocket.

INN. All right! I'll see if we can't resume that conversation where you
broke in on it; (sings) "And whisper foolish nothings, no one else may
hear, That is love! That is." (voice cracks)

INNINGS exits C. and R.

CORN, (after slight pause looks at DUNN) Peter, old man! You don't look
well.

DUNN. I don't feel well; I've been walking my room the whole of the
night. I haven't slept a wink.

CORN. Neither have I; but sleeplessness doesn't break me up nearly so
quickly as worry. I cannot stand worry; and that is why I want to speak
with you about this new Governess.

DUNN, (startled) What! Why should there be any worry about the new
Governess? (aside) Can he suspect...

CORN. It's no use trying to disguise it, Peter, she is not what she
seems.

DUNN, (amazed and frightened) Not what she...

CORN. She hasn't come here to teach the children at all.

DUNN, (rising) Great goodness, how did he learn this! (aside)

CORN. It was hard to believe, but a good look at her face settled it;
she's the very image...

DUNN. Image! (aside) He knows all. (crosses L.)

CORN. I'm pretty shrewd Peter, and I suspect I've summed up the whole
business.

DUNN, (aside) Oh! He's not sure, then I won't betray myself. I'll
brazen it out. (sits on couch)

CORN, (aside, down R. c.) If I could only induce him to get rid of her,
without disclosing anything.

DUNN, (on sofa) I've told you before Corney, how wrong it is to jump
to these conclusions; you may mis-judge this woman and her purpose and
object entirely, and, right or wrong, Corney, I'm blameless.

CORN, (aside) Ah! Peter knows she's unpopular with the women and that
the blame of engaging her will, fall upon him. (fetching chair from
table) That's all very well with me, Peter! (puts chair near couch and
sits astride it, facing audience.)

DUNN, (aside) With him! That means, at the worst I can buy him off!

CORN. But Helen and Carrie are prejudiced, and naturally perhaps. You
can't deny there is something uncanny about the woman.

DUNN. There is perhaps a stony look about the eyes; but that will wear
off.

CORN. It's hard to believe that she is of the same clay as ourselves.

DUNN. Clay! She was never clay.

CORN. She might have been cast in a different mould.

DUNN. She's not a casting at all so

CORN. Of course there's no denying she's beautiful. But I've a
prejudice against these classic expressionless, women; these cold
'blocks of marble.

DUNN, (as if paralyzed) Marble you do know then

CORN, (looks at DUNN quickly) I know what you ougnt to have known the
moment you saw her, that she was not the sort of thing, that, that it
wouldn't, do to have her about the house.

DUNN. I did know it, Corney, and I have tried. I have tried to get her
away, but I can't.

CORN. Obdurate and unforgiving, eh? As I suspected; she has a heart of
stone.

DUNN. Well, she had; of course that was changed with the other
alterations.

CORN, (rises and puts chair back by table) What? She relents? She
wavers in her purpose? Then let her go. The matter's simple enough:
pack her off!

DUNN, (rises) But I can't! It's all so brutal.

CORN, (with foot on stool) Oh, she's told you the whole story, eh? but
remember my version will put an entirely different light on it. And yet
out of cold-blooded vindictiveness she comes here to ruin me with Bea
and Sillocks.

DUNN, (putting foot on stool; looks puzzled at CORNET pause) Have you
met her before? Have you got that former existence theory?

CORN. If you call a year ago a former existence! (CORNET turns going R.)

DUNN. A year ago! (stumbles over stool)

CORN. Yes! When I broke off with her.

DUNN. Broke off! (aside) I didn't notice she had anything missing.

CORN. Broke off my engagement with her sister.

DUNN, (perplexed) Whose sister?

CORN. Mifton's sister, whom I met at Cambridge. (goes R.)

DUNN, (aside) He's on the wrong tack; Heavens! What a pitfall I nearly
fell into! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

DUNN goes up c., laughing heartily.

CORN, (meeting DUNN up c.) Don't laugh! Don't laugh! I tell you

DUNN. It's too bad Corney; to let you indulge in all this unnecessary
worry, but your fears are quite groundless. The new Governess, Madeline
Mifton, never heard of you till last evening.

CORN. I know better, Peter! She came here in her sister's interest, to
hunt me down.

DUNN. Nothing of the kind.

CORN. I tell you I learnt, on the best of authority, that Madeline
Mifton would certainly come here for the purpose of going for me.
(crosses L.)

DUNN, (dropping into chair R. E.) Great goodness! I'm forgetting she
will be here. The new Governess, and what will happen then? What will
happen then?

MARY, (enters from Library L. u. E.) The Locksmith is in the Library
Sir, to know what is to be done.

DUNN, (looking at audience as if for screen) Oh, the lock and staple
for the screen; I'll explain it to him, myself. Tell the Governess I
wish to speak to her.

MARY exits c. and R. up steps.

CORN, (going up c.) No! Never mind, Peter I'll tackle her myself.

DUNN. (stopping him c.) What for? when I tell you there's no occasion.

CORN. Well, I'm not so sure of that; and I'll satisfy myself. There's
some mystery connected with her. And I'll find out why and how she
came; and all about her. (crosses R. )

DUNN. No! No! Don't you meddle or you'll ruin everything! (aside)
He must not see Niobe till I have warned her. I'll run and see that
locksmith and hurry back. You remain quiet and I'll find out if you
have any cause for fear. Don't interfere, or you'll spoil everything.
Leave her to me. She's a peculiar woman, but I think I understand her.
She's a woman of the world undoubtedly, but a little out of date. Leave
her to me. Leave her to me!

Exit DUNN to Library L. D.

COBN. He seems so particularly anxious I should leave it to him, I
don't think it good enough; I would always rather that somebody else
should manage any little unpleasantness for me, but I like to feel sure
that they're not working some little purpose of their own.

Enter NIOBE c. and L. as if looking for some one; comes R.

Ah! Here she is good morning, Miss Mifton!

NIO. (on steps, waving her hands) Hail to you! (comes down) Where is he
whom they call master? The lord of this house?

CORN, (aside) Umph! A poetic blank verse kind of character (aloud) Oh,
Peter!

NIO. (fondly) Ah! Petramos!

Goes down L. in front of couch.

CORN. Yes, if you put it that way; he'll be here in a moment, Miss
Mifton. Make yourself at home; take a chair, be seated.

He goes to L. of table; his back to her as if to offer chair.

NIO. Nay, I am easier thus. (Flops on floor with head supported on
footstool)

(CORNEY turns and sees her on floor; staggered! he puts up eye glass.)

CORN, (aside) She's a decidedly eccentric creature I hardly know how to
begin with her; (aloud stooping down) I hope you find no trouble with
the children.

NIO. To love is not a trouble, and they are so like Petramos.

CORN, (slight pause, he turns away slightly) She seems partial enough
to Peter (aloud stooping down to her) Ahem! How how did you come to
hear of this, place? Was it by accident quite by chance you came here?

NIO. (looks round) By chance? Ah, yes!

CORN. Ah yes! You had no (bends down hurts back gets chair from table,
sits B., and stoops) You had no purpose beyond the ostensible one of
occupying the situation you had accepted. (speech disjointed and jerky)

NIO. Your speech is meaningless; to me but the empty rattle of a
falling can. (Posing face in hands, elbows on stool.)

CORN, (after regarding her suspiciously, turns to R.) She's frank to a
degree (aloud stooping) Ahem! You did not expect, you had no thought
of finding me here? (Spoken in a conciliatory tone, trying to be
agreeable.)

NIO. (after regarding CORNET disdainfully perplexed) I'd rather
Petramos should tell me what to say.

CORN. (rises and goes step to R.; aside) Can she have confided the
affair to Peter, and is this just simplicity, or only cunning?

NIO. If you like best conversing with yourself, I shall not miss your
chatter.

CORN. (quickly recovering himself) I beg your pardon! She isn't such a
fool; (sits again, crosses legs) Excuse me. You find a great change, I
suppose?

NIO. Ah yes! All things are changed, even men are not as they were. Why
do you hide your legs in those loose sleeves?

CORN, (looks at his trousers, tries to hide his legs aside) She must
have lived among the savages, she's a Highlander perhaps! I thought you
belonged to Cambridge.

NIO. I was born in Athens, but I left it when I married.

CORN. (R. c.) You are married then?

NIO. (beginning to cry) I was! Oh Amphion!! (cries on footstool)

COBN. Oh! I beg your pardon your husband is dead? (stooping to speak to
her)

NIO. More years than I can count, (sobbing)

CORN. Ah! You don't look your age. She's trying the idiotic dodge
again, (stooping) Ahem! When did you (gets twinge again with bending,
puts away chair and fetches low occasional chair from back of stage,
sits close to her and stoops) When did you see your sister last?

NIO. (sits up) At the Feast of Demeter, on the Temple steps.

CORN. Temple steps! Taking the Battersea boat perhaps! How did you
leave her?

NIO. In sorrow. She had been early plighted to a young Jioplite of
Ithaca, named Aulakes.

CORN. Hoplite! A dancing master I suppose. It's the first I've heard of
this; she may betray more of Ethel's secrets! (aloud) And what (trying
to get lower, and sees stool, NIOBE sitting up, has left room for him,
he steps over stool and sits) What became of the young fellow?

NIO. He fought throughout the war and fell in the last battle.

CORN, (aside surprised) Ethel can't be the Spring chicken I believed
her. (aloud) You were younger than your sister?

NIO. Ah yes!

CORN. Ah yes I can see a resemblance, but a difference; she might be
called handsome, you're pretty.

NIO. Why not? Mother was as fair as Helen.

CORN. Our Helen! Oh: I don't think much of her as a beauty.

Enter DUNN hurriedly he sees them, when he reaches C., falls into low
chair.

NIO. (rises on one knee as she sees PETER) Ah! Here is Petramos! And I
no longer wish to talk with you.

NIOBE rises and goes L.; PETER affects indifference. CORN, (rises)
That's straight, anyway, but what she can see in Peter beats me.

DUNN, (to CORNEY) You didn't say anything to her?

CORN. No, no! I've left it to you! (goes up, putting back chair)

NIO. (coming towards DUNN c.) He has perplexed and frightened me with
questions.

DUNN, (c., turning to CORNET R.) Now I thought--

CORN, (replacing other chair) No, no! Merely ordinary courtesies.

NIO. (very affectionately) I have no fear of him now you are here.

Putting her arms round DUNN'S neck as he turns; CORNET, coming forward,
sees them and affects to be greatly shocked, hiding face with newspaper.

DUNN. (perplexed and affecting light indifference, trying to get away
from her) Of course not, there is nothing to be afraid of, (to CORNEY)
She's so timid, you see Corney, she she seems to think everyone is
against her.

NIOBE looks up, their faces close together.

CORN, (down c.) She doesn't seem to mind you, Peter!

DUNN. No, she's quite taken to me, and if there is anything, Corney,
I'll find out for you. She'll tell me!

As DUNN turns from NIOBE going towards CORNEY, she keeps him back with
her arms still round his neck. He breaks away and she goes L. DUNN R.

CORN. Well, I'll leave her to you (goes up L. c.) I confess I don't
know what to make of her; she doesn't seem the kind of person to
undertake such a mission; a resuscitated mummy couldn't appear more
ignorant of the world's ways, (aloud) Peter! Peter! Hail to you!

CORNEY exits centre to R.

NIO. (following him up, looks off L., then turns to DUNN) Have you
resolved truth shall be told, and all disclosed, Petramos?

DUNN. Truth! no! I took a feeler at that; it isn't to be thought of.

NIO. (going R. c. towards DUNN) As my lord says it would be well, then,
to hire some slave to murder him that's gone! (mysteriously pointing
off L.)

DUNN. Murder Corney! What for?

NIO. He will betray.

DUNN. He can't he doesn't know!

NIO. But he suspects!

DUNN. Suspects the truth! Ridiculous! There may be, well there are
suspicions but they'll never take that form; and the only difficulty is
to keep up something that's possible of belief till we can provide for
you, or hear from your friends. (R. of table)

NIO. (on steps c.) Alas! have I in all the world a friend?

DUNN. (L. H.) I suppose not! We might go round electrifying all the Art
museums; on the off chance; there may be friends of yours in Greece, if
you could only go back to Greece, and burrow for them, (sits n.)

NIO. (coming back of table) Zeus! How desolate I am (to DUNN) Your only
thought is to be rid of me. (weeps on table)

DUNN. (R. of table) She's at it again! No, I don't wish to be rid of
you; if I could only see some way to manage it I should be glad for you
to remain.

NIO. (raising her head) Could I not stay then, as your wife?

DUNN. Umph! If I wasn't already suited. I've told you I have a wife?

NIO. But one! The law of Thebes allows two wives.

DUNN. But the law of England doesn't; and I should consider it a
dangerous experiment if it did; besides there are other interests in
the concern. My wife would be sure to object; and her sister would howl
with indignation. (crosses L., up stage in fear of interruption.)

NIO. The sour face! (R. c.) We could invoke the gods to strike her dumb.

DUNN. The gods don't amount to a row of pins, or I should have put 'em
on to Helen long ago! (DUNN sits on footstool c.) You're the Governess,
that's what they've been told and that's what we have to keep up; till
we can make other arrangements.

NIO. Say clearly then, what is a Governess?

DUNN. Oh! a Governess; a Governess, is one who governs, according
to the orders of those wno govern her; you must try to keep up an
appearance of meekness and servility.

NIO. For what?

DUNN. Because you won't be allowed to govern unless you do.

NIO. (with dignity) I am a Queen.

DUNN. Yes, but you got lost in the shuffle!

NIO. And my duties?

DUNN. To trot out the children, and pretend to teach, but above all
cringe to Helen say "yes Ma'am" always "Yes Ma'am."

NIO. (proudly) "Yes Ma'am," only that, "yes Ma'am?"

DUNN, (rising) Yes but not in that way, mind the tone, humbly; "Yes
Ma'am." (in a nasal tone and with a bob curtsey)

NIO. (after wonderingly regarding DUNN, imitates DUNN'S manner) "Yes
Ma'am!"

DUNN. That's better, and don't call me Petramos, but, Master, "the
Master," and above all, don't forget to be obsequious to Helen. Agree
with the old cat in all things, that's very important. (DUNN goes up
L., watching)

NIO. I shall remember (goes to window B., looks out and appears
delighted) Ah see! See! The crowd! The populace are out! Why do they
hurry so? There is no dignity in all this haste.

DUNN, (sitting on couch L.) They're not out for dignity, there's no
money in it; we haven't time for dignity now-a-days.

NIO. (goes back to window) Look! See! What are those strange chariots?

DUNN. Chariots? (crossing to look out) Oh! cabs! Growlers! Growlers!
They are called Growlers!

NIO. (following DUNN to c.) Growlers! Growlers!! Oh, could they not be
changed?

DUNN. I'll see what can be done in the matter (NIOBE goes back to
window) Go up to the nursery now, the children will be getting anxious
about you.

NIO. (at window B.) Look! Look Ixion; the man upon the wheel.

DUNN. Where! Oh, a boy on a bicycle! Do go!

POSTMAN'S KNOCK is heard thrice.

NIO. (coming out again) Why does he do that, is the man a Herald?

DUNN. No, a letter carrier, the postman! Postman!

NIO. Postman! (pleased) Ah! The Postman! (amused at the sound, repeats
"Postman" as she goes to window)

DUNN. If she's so struck on the postman, what will it be when she sees
a policeman!

NIO. Oh, how they sway! Could not someone teach them how to walk? The
Maidens waddle, like web-footed cranes. (Imitating a modern walk to L.
corner.)

DUNN. Yes! You've got it, that's it (NIOBE hurrying back to window,
DUNN stops her) Look at 'em another time, go to the nursery now, and
if the ladies, my wife or her sister, send for you, do be careful,
(putting her up L. c.)

NIO. (returns) I will bring the children and show how much they love me.

DUNN. (B. C.) No, no! They're not allowed in here.

NIO. (L. C.) Why, are they not yours?

DUNN. Yes, but I never attempt to prejudice them in my favour, I'll
explain to you another time, when I'm not so busy; I have to telegraph
the real governess, to stop away, or we are ruined.

NIO. I don't know Telegraph what is it, Petramos?

DUNN. Why oh it's a machine er on which you tick, tick, tick, tick at
one end, and the same tick ticks are heard at the other end, and the
tick ticks tell whatever you are thinking, to the party you're tick,
tick, ticking to.

NIO. Oh Petramos! you treat me like a child. Am I so foolish that you
mock my ignorance?

NIOBE Weeps and falls on DUNN'S shoulder, embracing him; CARRIE and
HELEN enter at back c.

DUNN. She's at it again. Don't cry there's no money in it. I wasn't
fooling you. Cheer up! there's a darling, (stroking her hair) Poor
little woman! (CARRIE down K.; DUNN sees her, pretends not to see her)
My dear young lady, you shall be treated with every kindness, my wife
is gentleness itself. I'm sure if my wife were here oh, you are there,
Caroline.

CAR. (R., indignantly) Yes, I am here!

DUNN. Come to this poor girl, she's homesick.

HEL. (coming down L.) And needs consolation, I observe.

At the sound of HELEN'S voice NIOBE recoils, back centre.

HEL. Miss Mifton, will you leave us?

NIO. Not at your bidding! If he, the Master, bids me go, I go, not
else. I wait his orders.

HEL. (crossing R. c. to CARRIE) You'll find mine are the orders that
are observed in this household, and you must obey them if you wish to
stay with us.

NIO. You can't suppose I wish to stay with you. (DUNN has gone up and
is now L. to DUNN) You Pet, the Master is the ruler here.

CAR. (in great tribulation; to HELEN) She called him pet.

DUNN, (crossing back of NIOBE R. c.) Yes! yes! but I never interfere in
domestic matters. Mrs. Dunn's sister manages everything, (aside as he
goes back L.) Don't forget what I told you; be obsequious.

NIO. Ah, that's well remembered. (to HELEN) I had forgotten; I am to be
obsequious to you; Yes Ma'am and cringe to you "Yes Ma'am!" It was the
master's wish agree with the old cat in all things, yes Ma'am!

NIOBE backing up stage with speech, turns and exits c. and R.

CAR. (goes up c., looks after NIOBE then down c. to DUNN, who in
desperation is strumming on the piano) So Peter! you are prompting her
to deceit.

DUNN. (L.) Deceit, my dear! What! Where's the deceit? (CARRIE
indignant, crosses R. )

HEL. (coming c.) It's true there was little show of confusion, in spite
of the indelicacy of the situation.

DUNN. What indelicacy? The poor girl required soothing, and no wonder;
you'd make a chins dog home-sick.

HEL. It did not take you long to acquire an interest in this person.

DUNN. What d'ye mean by acquiring an interest? She's not a joint stock
company!

CAR. (R.) Oh, Peter, and we thought it was illness kept you at home.

DUNN, (crossing to CARRIE) Carrie! My dear!

HEL. But it's obvious now why you stayed away from the office.

CAR. And she is no prettier than I.

HEL. Some men are captivated by impudence.

DUNN, (between them) It's a wonder you've remained single, so long.

HEL. I have too constant a reminder before me of the mistake of married
life, ever to venture.

DUNN. Oh! The venture would be on the other side: you run no risk!

CAR. You must admit, Peter, that this woman, the new governess--

DUNN impatient, with an exclamation, crosses R. to window.

HEL. Carrie, don't make foolish remarks you may be sorry for; to say
too much is to put him on his guard. Come (puts CARRIE over) to your
room not a word you're excited. I'll keep an eye on this Miss Mifton.

Exits, folloicing CARRIE L. D.

DUNN. (taking stage R. to L.; kicking stool away) Where will it end?
What am I to do? (sitting on couch) Send off that infernal Telegram to
the real governess. She must be detained where she is for the present,
and bought off; I shall have to go to Learnington, see her, and bribe
her to take some other engagement, and I don't know how I am to do it!

Enter INNINGS c. K.

INN. (coming down) If I can find Corney

DUNN (aside) Ah! Innings! Here's the very man! (DUNN shakes INNING'S
hand bringing him down on his R.) Innings, how are you glad to see you!
I don't know that I ever met a man that I took to more readily than I
did to you.

INN. (R. c.) Ha! Ha! Well! What favour do you want me to do for you?

DUNN. Favour! Oh! I wanted you to travel.

INN. Travel?

DUNN. Yes! It isn't far! You have lots of time on your hands.

INN. (R. C.) I don't travel on my hands! I couldn't go to-day.
To-morrow early, if you like?

DUNN. (L. c.) It would be better to-day, but to-morrow will do.

INN. Have I nothing to do but travel? Isn't there an object?

DUNN. Oh yes! I can trust you I know. I want you to go to Leamington
for me, to see a Miss Mifton, who is coming here as governess.

INN. Coming! I thought she was here!

DUN. Eh! Oh no! This is another one, she's not the same that is a
different one to the other. There are lots of them at this time of
year; the woods are full of 'em.

INN. Of what?

DUNN. Miftons! (going across R.) I'm getting so muddled, I have to send
a telegram I'll explain as we go. Give me your arm. (going up c. arm
in arm) I'm bilious I mean I'm weak this morning. I oh this deception,
there's no money in it.

Enter BEATRICE c. from R., as DUNN and INNINGS are going up.

INN. Good morning, Miss Sillocks!

DUNN. Good morning, Bea. Have you stepped in to see Hattie? (calls)
Hattie! Hattie! (turning round with INNINGS on his arm) You'll find
her in the Telegraph office back in a jiffey! Where are you Innings?
(turning) Oh, there you are. Come along!

DUNN exits with INNINGS c. and B. BEA. (down B.) Something has excited
him.

HATTIE enters L. D.

HAT. Good morning, Bea!

BEA. (kissing her) Good morning, dear. How are the babies?

HAT. Flourishing! You look quite serious this morning! What's the
matter, Bea?

BEA. (B. c.) I have had a shock.

HAT. (c.) Galvanic?

BEA. No, no! Well, an unpleasantness, a letter.

HAT. It wasn't from Corney then?

BEA. No! From a Miss Mifton

HAT. Madeline Mifton? Why it's our new governess!

BEA. (goes c.) But she writes from Chester. See! there's the postmark.

HAT. (looking) Why, it's three weeks old; been all over the country,
misdirected! What's in it?

BEA. She has seen something of my intended marriage with Corney in some
of the Society papers, and asks for his address.

HAT. That is suspicious, isn't it? But I dare say Corney can explain,
(aside) He's good at explaining (aloud) I wouldn't let it worry me.

BEA. I will not, if Corney assures me I've no reason to mistrust.

HAT. Oh, he'll do that! Did you find out if it's true that Peter had a
sister?

BEA. Oh yes! Papa says Mr. Dunn's sister is a most charming person.

HAT. Fancy that! and I never even heard of her; that's Helen's doings
(HELEN speaks off) Mum! She's here.

HATTIE and BEATRICE go L. to couch, as HELEN and CABBIE enter L. D.

HEL. (c.) Good morning, Miss Sillocks! How is your Papa?

HAT. Do tell, Bea. Helen has great interest in your papa, he's a
widower; and Helen is "nuts" on widowers.

HEL. Hattie! Tell the new Governess we wish to see her.

HAT. (L.) Don't get excited Bea. She is pretty, but I don't believe
she's Corney's kind.

HATTIE exits up steps c. and R.

CAR. (crossing R.) We have engaged a Miss Mifton to superintend the
children's education; but Helen has doubts as to her competency.

HEL. It will not take five minutes to satisfy ourselves; I'll put a
few questions to her, and if she cannot answer them satisfactorily
a fortnight's wages, in lieu of notice, will have to satisfy her.
(sitting R. c., front of table; CARRIE sits R. of HELEN)

Enter HATTIE c. from R., NIOBE following; HATTIE goes down L. to BEA.;
NIOBE c., top of steps.

BEA. What a lovely woman! Oh, Hattie! I believe Corney has been in love
with her. HAT. Oh, nonsense! NIO. (on steps) Hail to you!

HATTIE and BEA. on couch; all surprised; NIOBE advances.

CAR. Sit down, Miss Mifton!

NIO. Thank you! I am not tired, and stand to take mine ease.

HEL. I wish to ask you a few questions, Miss Mifton, to see if you are
capable of the training and instruction of the young. You write and
cypher, of course? I need not ask?

NIO. (standing c.) I would not then. Why speak of what is needless!

HEL. (after business of looking at NIOBE) What is your definition of
Geography?

NIO. It matters not since I am authorized to bow my will to yours; what
you would have it say and that it is.

HELEN turns and looks at CARRIE.

HAT. (laughing) Just the thing for you Helen; you can have it all your
own way, (an educational Phonograph). You breathe in what is to be
learned, and she'll breathe it out again.

HEL. (R. c. to CARRIE) This sounds like prevarication, (to NIOBE) You
would not have me describe the divisions of the land and sea; tell you
the names of the Continents.

NIO. Oh, yes, I would; that is, if you know them.

HEL. Know them--

HELEN rising CARIE calms and soothes HELEN, who again sits.

HAT. Ha! Ha! She doesn't! She doesn't!

CAR. Hattie! Do not interrupt the examination.

HEL. (re-seated) It's not a question of what I know, Miss Mifton, I'll
undertake to say, you don't know what a Continent is (pause) You don't!

NIO. (c.) I don't! I was to agree with you in all things.

HEL. If I asked you to name the Capital of Norway or the location of
the Red Sea, what would you say?

NIO. (at a loss pauses then in imitation of DUNN'S voice, curtseying)
Yes Ma'am!

HEL. Do you call that an answer? (rises angrily CARRIE soothes her)

NIO. Yes Ma'am! (HELEN sits again)

BEA. She looks intelligent; this must be all pretence.

CAB. She has better knowledge, perhaps, of home affairs.

HEL. (seated) What was the cause of the last War?

NIO. (c., confidently) A quarrel which broke out, upon the rights of
which I would not speak, for it was ended nearly when I was born.

HEL. (turns slightly from NIOBE) We don't want to know your age.

HAT. How many years did it last?

NIO. Ten!

HAT. Oh, she is a treat!

HEL. Be quiet, Hattie! Can you play the Piano?

NIO. I cannot tell you that, for I have never tried.

HEL. That's meant for impudence, I suppose.

NIO. (confused curtseying) Yes Ma'am!

HEL. (rising) You must be an idiot, or it is possible, you believe me
one?

NIO. (curtseying) Yes Ma'am!

laughing; HELEN frowns, falls into seat; CARRIE rises; enter DUNN c.,
endeavours to get off L., meets CORNEY from L. D.; DUNN comes down L.
of NIOBE; CORNEY down L. to BEA. and HATTIE; BEATRICE afterwards shows
CORNEY letter, COBNEY protesting in pantomime.

CAR. Peter! Peter! this girl appears to be ignorant on every subject!

DUNN. (L. c.) Why, of course, if you've been asking her things she
doesn't know!

HEL. (seated) She won't do, Peter. Her mind is a complete blank.

DUNN, (crossing to HELEN) Yes! On trivial modern accomplishments,
perhaps, but have you asked her anything about Ancient history?

HEL. No!

DUNN. Have you spoken Greek to her?

HEL. No!

DUNN. I thought not! Even you don't know everything, (as DUNN turns to
NIOBE, she tries to embrace him; he avoids her, and crosses quickly
to CORNEY) Corney, ask her something about Ancient history; the more
Ancient the better.

CORN. (L.) I've forgotten all I ever knew.

DUNN. That doesn't matter, she'll answer you all right!

CORN. Where was Homer born?

NIO. In Scios!

DUNN. There you see! First go!

CORN. (L. H.) What were the er names of the nine Muses?

NIO. (c.) Clio, Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, Melpomene, Polyhymnia,
Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania.

DUNN. (crossing to HELEN) Cyclopaedias! What more do you want?

HEL. (facing audience) What good will it do the children to know the
names of the Muses?

DUNN. (R. c.) Oh, I beg your pardon! We don't pay enough attention to
Ancient history now-a-days. (DUNN crosses again to CORNEY, L.) Corney,
speak Greek to her.

HATTIE and BEATRICE have gone up c.

CORN. Can't! "Hoi polloi" is the only expression I remember.

DUNN. Well, go on, give her that!

CORN. Hoi polloi!

DUNN. Hoi polly! Give her time now give her time

HEL. She is no use whatever! She can't even play the Piano.

HAT. (L. c.) How do you know! She has never tried.

exits laughing, with BEATRICE c. and R.

DUNN, (comes down L. c.) Well, if she can't, the Piano is not so very
desirable for young children; and she may be great on the Triangle or
the Jew's harp.

CORN. And no doubt Miss Mifton will soon learn if you insist on it.
(aside) I must keep the right side of her.

HEL. (rises) Absurd! She has not the intelligence of an insect.

NIO. (c.) It is not a necessity, for I am beautiful. It is such as you
who need intelligence.

CORN. Phew! That's a facer!

HEL. (rises fiercely) Minx! How dare you!

NIO. (clinging to DUNN as she recoils from HELEN, to L. of DUNN)
Petramos! I ask protection from this Medusa!

DUNN. Of course! Yes! Helen, you're too severe.

NIO. (L. c., rising) Helen! Ah! Like her of Troy, at whom the finger of
scandal pointed, (pose, as if denouncing HELEN)

HEL. It is false! The story is untrue!

CAR. Be calm, Helen!

DUNN turns up c., back to audience, shaking with laughter.

HEL. (R. c.) How dare you hint at scandal against me; but such
innuendos will not deter me. Peter! This woman leaves this house, or I
do!

NIO. (L. c.) Then there is little doubt which of us two will go. He'd
sooner fifty fold, that I should stay.

DUNN, (turning round c.) I must endorse that truism, if it ruins me. I
would! Damme! there! (turns again up stage)

HEL. Caroline, you hear!

CAR. (R. c.) Peter, after this you must see that it is absolutely
necessary for this person to depart.

CARRIE softs in HELEN'S arms.

CORN. Confound Helen! Mifton will be on to me next.

Enter INNINGS from L. D., drops down L.

HEL. (R. c.) Carrie, you have been patient and long suffering, but
there is a limit.

DUNN, (c.) Yes! There is a limit. And you've gone it. It's my say now,
and I am reckless, and may raise the devil!

NIO. (kneeling and clinging to him) Petramos, re-strain! Be merciful!
Invoke not now the curses of the gods!

DUNN. Oh, hang the gods! Be quiet, you only make things worse!

NIO. (bursting into tears, rising and falling on DUNN'S neck) Oh,
Petramos!

CARRIE sees the situation, and sobs loudly.

DUNN, (c.) She's at it again!

CORN. It's a shame poor girl, why--

INN. (aside to CORNEY) Don't waste your superfluous sympathies, that is
not Miss Mifton at all.

CORN. What! Can it be the women are right in their suspicions? What a
blackguard Peter is!

HEL. (embracing CARRIE) When you have finished comforting that
shameless creature, you may observe your wife needs consolation.

DUNN. Certainly! Corney! comfort my wife, can't you?

CORN. (L. of NIOBE) Don't try to make me a party to your vile
intrigues! (goes to L. corner)

DUNN. What's come to you? (DUNN tries to get at CORNEY, but turns back
to CABBIE) Listen to me, Carrie! I admit circumstances are--

CAB. Go away! I never wish to speak to you again!

They go up c.; DUNN going L.; CARRIE R.

HEL. (R., to NIOBE) Begone, Hussy! Leave the House!

NIO. (c.) Not at your bidding. Petramos is lord, and Petramos decrees
that I abide with him! (as if going to DUNN)

OMNES. (strong) Oh, Peter!!! (NIOBE gets over E., up stage)

DUNN, (wildly excited, coming down it. c.) In a sense, Miss Mifton is
right. She came here with an irreproachable character and the highest
references, and as the Master of the house, knowing nothing to her
discredit, I am responsible for her. Miss Mifton is here and for the
present must remain, (goes to B. of CORNEY)

HAT. (who has entered c. and has tried to get a word with DUNN, taking
up DUNN'S tone) That's what I tell her, but she insists it can't be.

HEL. Of whom are you speaking?

HAT. The lady here, who is asking for Mr. Dunn.

DUNN. (L. c.; facing audience) What lady? What's her business? Who is
she?

Turns and confronts Miss MIFTON, who has entered c. and just reached L.
c.

MIFT. The new Governess, Miss Mifton!

NIOBE advances R. c. close to Miss MIFTON, who turns and recognises her
dress.

DUNN. (L. c.) The other Mifton!

CORN. (L.) Another Mifton!

LADIES. Two Miftons! What infamy! (together)

NIOBE and Miss MIFTON stand looking at each other; NIOBE doing her
usual action of "Hail to you!" Picture of consternation and surprise,
by other characters as curtain falls.

QUICK CURTAIN.

N. B. No Second Picture. Company Call.




ACT III. TIME. The same day as Act II. A few hours later.

SCENE. Another side of the same room. The fireplace centre, the bay
window cornerwise L. of fireplace; the hallway R. u.; screen below it;
when open, covers a door down R.; couch and piano off; table is L. c.;
chairs, etc.; low chair at a small table against scene down L.; fire in
fireplace.

HELEN discovered seated R. of fireplace; CARRIE seated L.; CORNEY, back
to fireplace, standing smoking.

HEL. (R. c., seated) There is nothing left us but departure. Mr. Dunn's
falsehoods, and the woman's shamelessness, render any further stay
impossible. We are decided to leave his roof.

CORN. Certainly! Leave him the entire house; you've raised it about his
ears, you can't do more.

CAR. How he has deceived us!

HEL. What lies he has told us.

CORN. Hasn't he? Beauties! What a political future for a man who could
lie like Peter!

CAR. I'm appalled to find he is so wicked.

CORN. And mad to think you never suspected him. You feel so mean at
having been fooled, don't you? Why, I positively looked up to him. Ah!
It's the same old story, scores of presumably, blameless, spotless men,
only waiting to be found out.

CAR. (rises) We cannot longer remain under the same roof with him.

(Down to table, packing trinkets in small bag on table. HELEN rises and
goes to cabinet up R.)

CORN. Of course not, and the only question is, who's to quit! We can,
but why shouldn't he? There's four of us, and only one of him.

HEL. And her, the woman, (crossing to table with small vase)

CORN. Yes! Well, it would be far less trouble to arrange for us to
remain, and let him go, and take her along ivith him.

HEL. AND CAR. (CARRIE turning quickly from window) Corney!!

HEL. How can you suggest such a breach of propriety? (back to cabinet
for another small treasure)

CORN. I can't see that it's worse than leaving them here. Beside it
would save the inconvenience of packing, and as far as I'm concerned, I
don't relish getting out of my comfortable quarters for a trifle, (sits
in chair R. of fireplace, stretching himself)

(HELEN crossing to table L. c. with vase CARRIE packing with tissue
paper, and placing in bag on table.)

HEL. A trifle?

CORN. Well, say a serious little thing!

CAR. She is not a serious little thing! (CARRIE rings bell on table L.)

CORN. It's foolish to hurry our departure in any case. Give them time,
and we may find they have eloped, and left us in possession. (CORNEY
gets L. of fireplace on MARY'S entrance)

CAR. How can you hint at anything so shocking? (at table L., getting
photo) If Peter can clear himself, I will give him one more opportunity.

HEL. (taking photo out of CARRIE'S hand) And one more chance for new
and greater falsehoods, (crosses back to cabinet R. and puts down
photo, MARY enters from hallway R., front of them)

CAR. Where is Mr. Dunn?

MARY. (R. c.) He's gone, Ma'am!

CORN, (rises quickly) There! What did I say?

HEL. (advancing R.) Gone! Gone where?

MARY. Gone out, Ma'am!

CAR. And Miss Mifton is she in the house?

MARY. Yes Ma'am, both of them. The one, the first one, was on the pint
of going out, but Miss Mifton, the second, stopped her and says: "No
you don't, not in them clothes; take my frock off," she said, and the
high words they've been having you might have heard down here.

HATTIE enters R. c.

HAT. (R. c.) A downright quarrel over the nursery table.

CORN. Well, if I'm a judge of character, number two could hold her own.

HAT. Oh, the other's no duffer.

HEL. Hattie! Such language. (MARY exits R. to hallway)

HAT. She has such dignity, she's withering. She curled the new one up,
I can tell you.

HEL. And where are they now?

HAT. Number one is on the roof.

INNINGS enters R.

INN. (entering) I say, it's awful, you know, there's a crowd collecting
in front of the house; I think they imagine it's a sleep-walking seance.

(SHOUTS of mob off L.; all run to window except INNINGS and HATTIE.)

HEL. (returning) What do they want?

CORN. What's the matter? What is it?

INN. One of the Miftons, the Governess, is on the tiles.

(SHOUTS; same business as before.)

HEL. What a disgrace!

CAR. What is she doing on the roof?

HAT. I don't know, the step ladder was there, and she ran up through
the skylight, she's calling out Phoebus! Phoebus! and waving her arms
about like this. (HATTIE down R., and comes over again)

HEL. Tell her to come down.

CORN. She must belong to some new sect that has taken up the old Pagan
idolatry.

INN. Yes! That's it! She's calling on the gods.

(Shouts; all to window again.)

CAR. But why up there why upon the roof?

HAT. Thinks she's getting nearer to 'em, up there.

CORN. Tell her to try the upper story of a residential flat.

HAT. Or the top of the Eiffel Tower.

HATTIE exits to hall R. u. E.

INN. (following) If she would like to go up in a balloon, I shall be
delighted (INNINGS exits R.)

HEL. When will our humiliation cease? (crosses R.)

Miss MIFTON enters R. u. E.

MIFT. (R. c.; speaking as she enters) I will not put up with it, you
will pardon me troubling you; but if I cannot get my rights any other
way, I must send for the policeman.

CORN. I fancy the Cook's got a mortgage on him! (comes down L.)

CAR. (L. c.) What is it you want, Miss Mifton?

MIFT. (indignantly, c.) My wearing apparel, Mrs. Dunn! That impostor is
in possession of my trunk, and is still wearing some of my dresses.

HEL. What insufferable impudence?

CAR. Have you asked her to give them up?

MIFT. I did more than ask; I insisted; I commanded her to take my
property off her back; and she replied, by imploring Artemis, to strike
me dumb, (puts her hands up a-la-NIOBE)

HEL. Artemis, who?

CORN. Artemis Ward, of course. She meant it in some humorous way,
probably.

CAR. (L. c.) What a vindictive wretch she must be.

MIFT. (R. c.) The most annoying part of it is she Avon't lose her
temper; she simply waves me off, and says, "The audience hour is noon."

CORN. (L.) A new way of implying "At home, Thursdays, 12 to 2."

CAR. Miss Mifton, will you please he patient, and silent, too;
endeavour to spare us the pain of a great scandal.

MIFT. You may rely on my discretion, Mrs. Dunn.

HEL. Be prepared to leave with us, and have the children ready.

MIFT. I'll do my best, but she has set the dear pets against me. They
won't leave her side.

CAR. (crosses R. to HELEN) Oh, Helen, this is the bitterest blow of all.

HEL. (following CARRIE down R.) Don't despair Carrie. Miss Mifton is,
as yet, new to them; you at least will be able to lure the darlings
from the pernicious influence. (Crosses to table and gets hand-bag.)

CORN, (aside) If I can get a chance, I'll have my little business out
with Miss Mifton at once.

HEL. (crossing back with hand-bag) We will see to the children
ourselves, Miss Mifton. (crosses R. of CARRIE) Come Carrie, we must
first send to a Hotel and secure rooms! The very air here seems
loathsome.

(HELEN exits with CARRIE R. i. E.)

CORN. Yes, there's an escape of gas somewhere.

MIFT. (looks after CARRIE and HELEN then speaks down R. aside) He's
here! Now is my opportunity to endeavour to obtain my sister's letters.

CORN. (L. aside) The annoyance she's meeting with will make her more
spiteful to me. I must pacify her the first thing, (aloud) We deeply
regret the vile treatment you have received. I myself am pained beyond
measure at the ignominy you have suffered. (DUNN enters R. u. E., as if
from street, with paper parcel, puts down hat on cabinet, up R.) And if
it were not for the ties of relationship, Mr. Dunn should answer to me
for his dastardly conduct.

DUNN, (coming down c.) Should he? If you will only show your authority
for questioning, Mr. Dunn is prepared with unlimited replies.

CORN. I have merely the authority of equity and common justice.

DUNN. Justice for whom?

(During following scene CORNEY bullies DUNN very considerably.)

CORN. (L. c.) Justice for all.

DUNN, (c.) That's rather a large order, isn't it? and you might find
your portion of it, a little more than you bargained for; as for the
little inconvenience Miss Mifton has experienced--

MIFT. (R. c.) It is no small matter, Mr. Dunn, to have your trunk
seized and your dresses appropriated.

CORN. Even her very name has been stolen.

DUNN. How do you know? I suppose there may be other Miftons? (to
MIFTON) You don't quite claim a monopoly for the name, do you Mifton?

MIFT. It's a remarkable coincidence, that I should find a person of my
name, occupying my situation.

DUNN. You were so long coming to fill it. You threw away your chances.

MIFT. I merely delayed to call upon some friends.

CORN, (going to DUNN c.) The fact of Miss Mifton being delayed is no
excuse for the pretence.

DUNN. But it accounts for the mistake. We had engaged a Miss Mifton,
and a Miss Mifton came; it was a case of first come first serve.

MIFT. But she appears here in my tea gown she's wearing my clothes.

DUNN. That's your fault again for sending them on. If you had come in
them, it couldn't have happened. And there's no desire to keep your
clothes. The lady will get some made with all possible dispatch. I have
here samples of materials that I have obtained for her to select from,
(showing parcel)

(N. B. This parcel contains a number of small sample cuttings of dress
goods, a printed measure form to fill up, tape measure and pencil.)

CORN. You take a remarkable interest in this woman.

DUNN. The interest one naturally feels for the unprotected. She is an
Orphan; of long standing; she is misjudged and suffering an injustice.

CORNEY goes up to window L.

MIFT. (R. c.) You are strangely blind to my grievances, Mr. Dunn. You
engaged me as Governess, and I came here to teach your children.

DUNN, (c.) No! No! Let us be correct. You came here to hunt down the
gay deceiver (indicating CORNEY, who comes quickly down to him c.) who
trifled with the young affections of a confiding Mifton.

CORN, (aside to DUNN) Don't be a fool Peter; she'll put up the damages,
a couple of thousand, on a remark like that, (aloud) What reason have
you to suppose who could have told you such was the object of the
lady's visit?

DUNN, (c.) You told me yourself, and asked me to speak to Miss Mifton.

CORN. (L. c.) Not that one!

DUNN. But you meant that one. Why, the other hasn't had a sister for
years and years. And it's the sister you had broken off with, (goes up
and unties parcel at cabinet R. )

CORN. (R. ) I never said she was broken off.

MIFT. (comes down R. c.) I admit I took the engagement for the purpose,
if it proved the same, of speaking with Mr. Griffin of my sister; and
if he still loved her, to prepare him for the worst.

CORN. (with mock grief) What! Is she dead? My bonny Ethel, a thing of
the past! Oh! (Falls into chair R. of table.)

MIFT. (crosses to CORNEY) No! No! Not that, Mr. Griffin; my sister
still lives.

CORN. (rises) Oh, I see; you mean the worst if I refuse to compromise.
Of course, it is to be regretted that mercenary motives should creep
in, where once love reigned. And your case is not a strong one, Mr.
Dunn will tell you--

DUNN. (at table, arranging his patterns under newspaper) No, Mr. Dunn
won't. Don't drag me into your vile deceptions. I've enough to worry
with my own.

CORN. Why can't Ethel let by-gones be by-gones; she must know I was an
impressionable young jackass; that we never could be happy together,
at least I couldn't, and she is very wrong, very wrong, to insist on
marrying me.

MIFT. (c.) She does not. How could she when she is already married?

CORN. (bus.) Married! Oh, Miss Mifton oh (aside) oh, this is lovely!
(going to l. corner)

DUNN. Oh, what luck some people have?

MIFT. (c.) I came to plead to your generosity; her husband believes she
was never engaged before! She dreads you might disclose her deception,
and expose her letters.

CORN. Ah! How she has misjudged me; I forgive her freely; she shall
have her letters--

MIFT. Thank you!

CORN. In exchange for mine, of course. It must be a sound reciprocal
arrangement.

MIFT. Yes! Yes! I have them in my trunk.

CORN. Good! When you are packing, I will take them.

DUNN, (coming down) And as you have now thoroughly accomplished the
object of your coming, Miss Mifton, there is nothing further to detain
you. I wish you good day. (taking her hand) I'm sorry you had so much
trouble, but compensation will of course...

MIFT. (withdrawing her hand, indignantly, and going R.) You are
mistaken, Mr. Dunn. I could never consent to leave the ladies in their
distress.

CORN, (crosses to Miss MIFTON) That sentiment does you credit, Miss
Mifton! Don't be intimidated, I will stand by you.

MIFT. (excitedly) I will not! (crosses c., DUNN running L.) I will send
for an officer. I will demand my clothes I cannot pack my dress while
it is on the back of that person. (Going hurriedly R. and exits R. u.
E.)

CORN, (following her up) No! have it off! have it off! Send for the
police.

DUNN. (L. c.) Do you know you're spreading insubordination, Cornelius
Griffin, and breeding contempt for me; the constituted authority of
this house?

CORN. (returning c.) I can't help that, Peter, I must stand up for the
innocent and oppressed.

DUNN, (c.) Must you! How long has this wave of virtuous indignation
been raging along your seaboard?

CORN. (K. c.) For several minutes! Aroused by the vile treatment of
poor little Mifton; it was contemptible to seize her trunk and pick the
lock, (goes R.)

DUNN, (following CORNEY closely) I did not. I only picked the key; and
it was only by the merest chance that it fitted.

CORN, (backing DUNN to c.) But you have the nerve to utilize the
contents of the said trunk to deck out your precious beauty!

(Crosses to L. of. DUNN, follows CORNEY) What d'ye mean by deck out?
She's not a shop window, and don't call her my beauty, I have never
made any special claim to comeliness.

CORN. Oh, come Dunn! (gets L. of table)

DUNN. (R. of table) Don't, "Oh, come Dunn" me!

CORN, (turns on DUNN across table) I had a high opinion of you once.

DUNN, (same business) I never had a high opinion of you at any time.

CORN. I was mistaken.

DUNN. I wasn't! You're no good you're not solid; you've about as much
vertebral support to you as a rubber pipe; you haven't the pluck to
stand by your own tom-fooleries, but shift the blame on to others.

CORN. (across table) You never will understand how necessary it is for
me not to worry. The doctor says I cannot both worry and live.

DUNN, (across table) Then worry and die! I've had enough of this
scapegoat business. You can allot me shares in a newer enterprise,
(sits R. of table)

CORN. (crossing behind table to c.) And this is your gratitude to me
for letting you down easy?

DUNN, (turning fiercely) Letting me down easy!

CORN, (c.) Why certainly! Being, so to say, sullied with my smaller
vices has served to break your fall, hasn't it? If you had possessed a
spotless reputation, the effect of your collosal villainy now would be
paralyzing.

DUNN, (aghast) My collosal villainy!

CORN. It's bad enough as it is. Carrie has washed her hands of you;
they are preparing to depart.

DUNN. Preparing to depart! What for?

CORN. (R. c.) What for? You must see that I cannot allow my sisters to
remain longer under your roof. (turns from DUNN)

DUNN. Then take 'em away; you can take Helen away, and Hattie too, I
can even spare Hattie, but Carrie ceased to be your sister when she
became my wife; she is going to remain, (goes to low chair L., is about
to sit)

CORN, (c.) There! I said you'd be agreeable to that. My argument was,
that if somebody must go, it would be better for you to get out.

DUNN. Better for me to get out!

CORN. Yes! You have only one trunk to pack! The girls have two each,
and I have another, that's seven.

DUNN. Yes, it's seven to one against me; but I decline to be the
outsider, (sits L.)

CORN. Well, don't be too hasty in deciding think it over. I shall not
pack my traps till I hear from you, and I rely on your good sense to
show you the value of my suggestions; Peter, you nearly worried me that
time. (CORNEY exits R. i. D.)

DUNN. Why! Why didn't I tell the truth at first, as Niobe suggested. It
might not have been believed; it wouldn't have been, but I could have
stuck to it instead of floundering about, and getting up to my neck
in a quicksand of equivocation, (rises, going c. ) If I can only get
a dress made for her to go out in, I'll send her to my sister, Mabel
who would believe whatever I might tell her. (turns to table back to
audience)

Enter NIOBE R. u. E. comes down R. C.

NIO. (not seeing DUNN ichen first entering) Ah me! I would I were a
stone again! Anything were better than to suffer such indignities as
now I meet. Petramos! you will remove my cares as Eos lifts the sable
pall of night.

DUNN. I don't know anything of Knight's pall. Don't talk undertaking
business. What is it?

NIO. That daughter of Athena claims these robes, the which you gave me
yester e'en.

DUNN. Oh well, for the sake of peace give them to her. Avoid war if you
can. There's no money in it. (goes L.)

NIO. (following him slightly c.) Why yield to her when we might
ostracise her?

DUNN. Because she'll call in the police if she hasn't already done so.

NIO. Perlice? Is that some portion of the things we wear?

DUNN. No, no! Police the Police the gentlemen who guide and direct us,
of whom we enquire the time, the officers of justice. They keep the
peace where nobody can find it.

NIO. Ah, the custodians of law and order? (DUNN nods affirmatively)
Why, we have but to fill their hands with bribes.

DUNN. What! They were the same in the old time! We've trouble enough
in the house without getting the police in. Of course, you couldn't
foresee the mischief you were doing, but you've ruined me.

( NIOBE starts)

DUNN. Yes, ruined me. My wife will leave me, and my family be scattered
to the fore and hind quarters of the globe. (Crosses R. and rests head
against side of screen.)

NIO. (sees and takes paper knife from table) If I have wrecked your
pleasure, let me die. You gave new life to me; 'tis yours, take it
away. (Kneeling, offering paper knife with outstretched hands.)

DUNN. With a paper knife! You can't remove existence in that off-handed
way. You're flesh and blood now and it would be murder. If you were
only electrified back to stone now, if you were only stone dead.

NIO. (rises throws knife up stage) I'll rouse again the wrath of High
Olympus, (crosses R.)

DUNN, (annoyed) I've told you the firm went to smash long ago. Do be
rational. You must go and give that woman her frock. Put on your own
dress your stone dress, till we can get you one made to go out in.
(gets back of table a-la-shopman) I have here samples of materials and
a choice variety of colours for you to select from, (takes newspaper
off patterns)

NIO. Ah, Petramos! How good you are? (takes up patterns and places them
on stage, kneeling, interested and sorting them)

DUNN, (coming down L.) I was afraid to bring the dressmaker into the
house, but I have full instructions here for measuring you. (coming
down L. with printed form, taking out pencil and tape measures, which
he hangs about his neck)

NIO. (on stage c., spreading out samples) It will be hard to choose
from such a store of prettiness.

DUNN. (placing form on table) Yes, if you'd had about two, you might
have come to a decision. Don't scatter them about, you haven't time
to play patience now. I suppose it doesn't matter much where I begin
on her, so that I fill up the form! (he measures length of back, 18,
crosses to table and writes it down) 18.

NIO. This pink and grey would be the sweetest match If this dress is
the fashion it becomes me well.

DUNN, (returning to R. of NIOBE) Stand up, please (placing her arm
to measure sleeve, NIOBE puts arm full up, DUNN goes up to door R.,
returns to NIOBE and places arm in position; measures, 6. 13. 24,
crosses to table) 6. 13. 24.

NIO. (c.) May I, too, have a full accordion skirt?

DUNN. (coming lack to R. of NIOBE) Oh yes, with concertina sleeves; and
harmonican puffs if you like.

NIO. As you decide. Whom have I in the world but you! (going to embrace
DUNN, as he places arm to measure bust; NIOBE attempts to embrace him
as he puts his hand around to measure her; DUNN gets the measurement
and bobbing under arm, goes to table)

DUNN. Thirty-nine, (writes thirty-nine)

NIO. Why I am forty times as old as you. I think that grey would suit
me.

DUNN. (returns to c. L. of NIOBE, bringing card form with him; he goes
to measure her waist she embraces him ad lib. He falls on his knees and
takes measurement) Waist 36. (CARRIE enters R.; NIOBE gets over on his
L.; he measures skirt and sees CARRIE'S foot, she having entered during
business; DUNN falls flat on stage, muttering measurement and gathering
up loose patterns, pushing them into his vest.)

CAR. (R. c., indignantly to NIOBE) I had some business with my husband,
but I can wait.

NIO. (L. c.) Oh no! We would not have you wait. He's here and you may
speak.

CAR. (R.) You're too gracious. I came, Peter, unknown to Helen, to see
if you could not remove my doubts; and I find you, as usual, in open
unblushing companionship with this woman.

DUNN. Open! Yes open! There is no deception. None. (rising)

CAR. You loved me once, Peter.

NIO. (crosses to CARRIE) He loves you still. His heart is yours; you
cannot grudge me a little corner in it.

DUNN. (at table, putting doivn patterns) She wants a corner on it.

CAR. How can I bear this infamous creature's insolence.

DUNN. Carrie, you don't understand; she's not infamous.

CAR. You defend her!

DUNN. I'd defend anyone who's unjustly accused.

CAR. (crying R.) If you are bewitched, confess it; say you are under
the spell of this fair Siren.

NIO. (crying c.) The Siren's lured Odysseus with melody and song. I
have not played or sung here to Petramos.

DUNN. Now they're both at it. Here's a chance for the gods! Carrie,
there's no spell in the business.

CAR. (R.) Ah! Why do I protest. I might have expected it.

DUNN. (crossing to CARRIE) I did expect it. The moment I saw her, I
knew you would object to her being here.

CAR. What self-respecting wife would not? (cries at screen)

DUNN. (going to seat L. corner) Now we're all at it. (sits) I knew it
was useless to say who she was, or how she came.

NIO. (c.) He feared the truth, tho' I advised it. Truth might have
worked more mischief.

DUNN. No! truth couldn't! But what's the use of a truth which seemed
like throwing down the gauntlet to Annanias.

CAR. (crosses to PETER) Oh Peter! Confess you were beguiled and I'll
forgive you. (taking his face in her hands, turns his head towards her)

DUNN. I cannot criminate myself by owning up to what doesn't belong to
me. If you had been here when she arrived if you had seen how she came,
it would have been all right; you would understand that (rises) that
she is no more to me than a sister I have not seen for years. (Goes up
c. to fireplace.)

NIO. (R. c.) He was near when I first drew my breath! But him in the
wide world I have no one, he is my guardian, my protector.

CAR. (crosses c. ) Ah, how blind I've been, (goes to DUNN and brings
him down L. of her) Forgive me, Peter, for having doubted. Why did you
not say she was your sister?

DUNN. Why! I never thought of it.

CAR. (to NIOBE) You, too, must forgive me, and let me call you Sister.
(DUNN smiling)

NIO. Oh yes, that will be sweet. I have wanted so much to love you, but
you would not let me.

CAR. (arms around NIOBE) I might have known you would wish to be near
Peter. Though he never said so; and what a resemblance! Come, Peter
dear, kiss your sister. And Helen thought different.

DUNN. Helen would, (beck at table, putting away, hiding patterns)

CAR. I was to blame for neglecting Peter's kindred. I knew of your
existence, that is all. What is your name, dear?

DUNN. (at back, trying to stop her) Mab--

NIO. (not heeding DUNN) My name is Niobe!

DUNN. (goes down L.) She conceals nothing. She's altogether too
guileless for this nineteenth century.

(Enter HELEN and HATTIE from dining-room R. i. E.)

CAR. Sister Niobe! (embracing her and putting her over c.) Helen!
(crosses to HELEN) We have wronged Peter; we are to blame. She is his
sister.

HEL. (severely, together with HATTIE) Sister!

HAT. Peter's Sister!

CAR. And if we had not kept her a stranger to our circle, her coming
would not have caused all this anxiety.

HEL. (nastily spoken) I always said, if she came there would be trouble.

HAT. (crosses to NIOBE, R. c.) Peter's sister. Well, you're not a bit
like him. You're altogether too scrumptious for anything.

NIO. (c. ) Though I am ignorant of what "scrumptious" means, your
manner tells me it is something good.

HAT. (L. c.) You bet your boots it is.

HEL. (R.) Hattie!

HAT. (sharply) Don't you interfere. We're going to run our new sister
on our own lines, aren't we Carrie?

NIO. You have my sympathy (pointing to HELEN) that she claims kinship
with you.

(HELEN turns indignantly from NIOBE.)

HAT. Oh, you are a funny old thing. And say, Ni', won't you tell me how
you dress your hair like that? (round to L. of NIOBE)

NIO. I cannot tell you that; my tiring women dressed it. It is as it
was left three thousand years ago.

(General surprise.)

OMNES [ALL]. Three thousand years!

DUNN. (crossing in front to c.) Ha! Er that's a quotation; you know the
quotation "Rode the three thousand." (goes up c.)

(Enter MARY, R., from hallway, R. C.)

MARY, (to NIOBE) Miss Mifton wants to know if she's ever goin' to get
her clothes?

DUNN. Yes, yes! Of course! (to NIOBE) Go! Go! and give her dress back
by all means, (goes up)

MARY exits R.

HAT. Bother her shabby old clothes! You can have some of my dresses.

CAR. Or mine. You are about my figure.

NIO. I am pleased you are so shapely. Cleophas thought that I was well
nigh faultless.

CAR. Who's Cleophas?

HAT. (quickly, R. c. ) Is he your mash?

DUNN, (going down, pushes HATTIE away) Never mind him. He's a fellow
we met at the races, (to NIOBE aside) Be quiet and do as I tell you or
you'll spoil all. (crosss over to window)

NIO. (gradually working up) Ah no! Fear not! (coming down c. ) I cannot
take the robes you'd kindly loan me, but I am touched no less with all
your love and moved to the relief of melting tears.

NIOBE: exits crying, off R. c. up stairs; CARRIE up c., looks after
NIOBE; HATTIE goes up R. c., and exits after NIOBE.

DUNN. (coming down L.) At it again. Kindness or cruelty, care or
neglect, all melt her alike.

(Door bell.)

CAR. Poor, tender hearted darling.

HEL. (down R.) Irrigating Crocodile! She's a huge sham mark my words,
we shall live to regret her coming.

DUNN. (goes a little towards HELEN) There's no occasion for you, to
live here to regret it. If you feel you could bear it better somewhere
else, don't let us keep you. (goes L.)

Enter BEATRICE R., from hallway, advances with, HATTIE.

HAT. (R. c.) Bea! What do you think? Such a surprise; Miss Mifton, the
first Miss Mifton is...

DUNN. (L. ) Hattie, my dear, be quiet. Miss Sillocks is not interested
in our family surprises.

BEA. (R. c.) Oh yes I am! Especially as I have one of my own.

CAR. For whom?

BEA. For all of you! Papa has always imagined, as Mr. Dunn's sister
never visited him, that there was some kind of estrangement.

HAT. Yes! And her papa was determined to get Peter's sister over on a
visit, and give them the chance to kiss and be friends.

BEA. That's it! And he has just received a telegram to say she will
come.

HEL. AND CAR. (R. and R. c.) Who will come?

BEA. (c.) Mr. Dunn's sister, Mabel!

HEL. Mabel?

CAR. Niobe!

DUNN. Niobe, Niobe, Mabel Dunn she has several names. Those are the two
front ones Miobe, Nabel, Dunn.

BEA. Mabel; tho' papa says they always called her Gypsy, she was so
dark.

CAR. Dark!!

HEL. (rises) Dark? She is fair!

BEA. and HATTIE go up c. in front of fireplace; CARRIE up to opening c.

DUNN, (c.) Yes, she is fair now. I tried to keep her dark, but I
couldn't, (going drops in chair extreme L.)

(Enter CORNEY from dining-room.)

HEL. (advances c.) I knew it another fraud unveiled.

CORN. (R.) What is it? What's the new discovery?

HEL. (c. ) He, this monster of martial iniquity, has been blinding us
with new and more daring falsehoods. He declared that this woman was
his sister.

DUNN. Never! Never! I never declared it.

HEL. (crosses L. c. to table) See how he cowers, for he stands
confessed. Fate, in the person of Beatrice Sillocks, has hunted him
down.

CORN. Bea, in a new role. The guardian angel of innocence, (crosses L.
to DUNN)

HAT. (down c.) Perhaps he has two sisters! (DUNN with a gleam of hope
rises) Why not, there are two Miss Miftons! (CORNEY meets DUNN'S gaze)

CORN. No!

DUNN. No?

CORN. No, no!

DUNN. No, no! (drops in chair again)

CORN. No! no! That's played out. Even Peter, with all his impudence,
wouldn't set up that defence, (goes up to fire to BEATRICE)

CAR. (advances to R. c.) She is not your sister?

DUNN. No! No!

HAT. (L. c.) Oh, Peter!

HEL. Hattie! Leave the room; these disclosures are unfit for your ears.

(HATTIE crosses front to R.)

CORN. (bringing BEATRICE down R. C.) And take Beatrice from the moral
poison of his presence.

HAT. We'll hear all about it afterwards, so it doesn't make any
difference. (HATTIE exits with BEATICE R. i. E. )

CORN. (goes towards PETER in front of table L. c.) Now Peter Amos Dunn!
As my sister's brother, I am bound to bring it to your notice, that one
of us, either your party or our party, must leave this house. And, I
think your best course is to leave us in possession of the home you are
no longer fit to occupy.

DUNN. (rises) It's my home, and I suit it to myself. (desperately.
CORNEY backs a little c.)

HEL. Leave him to me, Corney! (going to DUNN)

DUNN. Yes, do! Her sex gives her a protection you haven't got.

CAR. (R. c. ) Peter, why, oh why did you say she was your sister?

DUNN, (crossing to CARRIE) I didn't! It never occurred to me or I
might. You yourself said she was my sister, and I know you hate to be
contradicted.

CAR. (R. c.) But she gave her consent to the fraud. She let me call her
sister.

DUNN. (R. c.) Oh, what of that! I've called many a girl sister before I
married you.

CAR. This woman admitted that you were her guardian and protector.

DUNN. Well, in a sense I am. I'm responsible for her. She's purely a
matter of business. She was turned over to me to take care of, and when
he's ready for her he'll take her away.

HEL. What disgusting levity!

CAR. Who will take her away?

DUNN. Why Tompkins! She's his property, not mine.

CORN, (advancing c.) Tompkins! Isn't this a branch of business which
ought not to be intruded on the home circle?

DUNN. (c. l.) Don't I know that? But Tompkins set such store by her, I
had to oblige him and bring her here, (crosses to low seat L. )

HEL. (rises) Then weak as you are to shield another person's infamy at
the cost of insulting your family, you are a spotless infant compared
to Tompkins.

CAR. Mr. Tompkins must never set foot in this house again.

CORN, (c.) Say the word and I'll kick Tompkins out every time he comes.

Enter MARY from halhtay R. from L.

MARY. Mr. Tompkins! (MARY exits)

CORNEY goes quickly to R. corner: enter TOMPKINS R. u. E.

DUNN. How d'ye do, Tompkins? If you'll come to my room--

HEL. (putting DUNN back, he falls into chair) Let Mr. Tompkins first
hear the opinion of the ladies, whose sense of delicacy he has outraged.

TOMP. (c.) What's the matter, Dunn?

DUNN. Nothing! Nothing! Don't take any notice.

HEL. He must take notice, and apologize to ladies or irreproachable
character though it is scarcely to be expected from one so utterly
depraved.

TOMP. I haven't an idea what I'm supposed to have done, but few of us
have past lives, wholly free from blame. Even you, Miss Griffin, may
have something to regret.

HEL. What dare you insinuate? It is not true! Who could have told you?
I--I--

DUNN. It's right! It's right! Tompkins has found it all out Helen's
down and I can't triumph I haven't a crow left in me. (goes up L. to
fire c.)

HEL. Even for your sake Carrie, I cannot remain here to be insulted.

CAR. Is not Corney here to protect you? (comes down R. c. )

CORN. To be sure, tricks of this kind won't help you, Tompkins, and we
must ask you to take her away, if you have not the decency to apologise
for her presence.

TOMP. (c.) Whose presence? Who's she?

CORN. (R.) The woman you brought here.

TOMP. I brought!

CORN. The Governess!

HEL. (L.) Dunn's sister!

CAR. (R. C.) Miss Mifton!

TOMP. (R. c.) There are three of them?

DUNN. They're all one!

CAR. (advancing to TOMPKINS) Mr. Dunn says she was brought here to
oblige you.

TOMP. Dunn says that (goes up to DUNN)

DUNN. (crouching on stool by fire) Yes, I did, but it's a lie, a
whacking lie! I'm trying to break a record I started in without
thinking and Heaven only knows where I shall end.

TOMP. Is this meant for a joke, Mr. Dunn?

DUNN. That's it! I never thought of it before, but it's a joke. Ha! Ha!

TOMP. I fail to appreciate it, Sir; but fortunately my business with
you will soon be over and our acquaintance can end with it. I have come
to take away my Statue. (coics down c.)

CARRIE crosses to L.

DUNN. His Statue! The last straw!

TOMP. I find my place is ready, and the men are here to move it.

DUNN. Move it! You can't move it!

CORN. (R.) Why not? It's only a question of having enough men.

TOMP. I have a score, and they will exercise every care in getting it
out.

DUNN. Care's of no use, and a hundred men couldn't get the Statue out!
It isn't here.

TOMP. Not here!

OMNES. Not here!

TOMP. What do you mean?

HEL. The figure has not been moved.

CORN. (R. ) It's here in the screen right enough, it couldn't fly out
of the window, (opening screen) Gone!

OMNES. Gone!!!

TOMP. Nothing but the Pedestal!

DUNN. (advancing R. c.) Didn't I tell you so? Do you think I am
incapable of ever speaking the truth?

TOMP. But wnere is it? Where! What is your explanation?

DUNN. I haven't got one! (falling into chair R.)

CORN. Absurd! Make a break at something, (crossing up stage and down
and sits on table)

TOMP. (c.) Stupendous misfortune! You can have no conception of the
awfulness of your avowal you cannot realize my loss.

DUNN. I can realize the loss, it is to our Company!

TOMP. What is filthy lucre? No money on earth can compensate me for its
destruction.

CAR. (L. C.) Be calm, Mr. Tompkins!

HEL. (R. of table L. c. ) It will be found no doubt.

TOMP. Calm! With such a treasure gone! Ah! You know nothing of the
halo of romance that surrounds that figure. It was no ordinary piece
of statuary. There is a legend that no mortal hand carved or chiselled
it. It is believed to be the actual petrifaction of the identical once
living Niobe, wife of Amphion, King of Thebes.

DUNN. (jumping up) What! Niobe herself! And you believe the story? You
do!

TOMP. Why should I doubt the possibility of human petrifaction?

DUNN. (rushing at TOMPKINS, taking his hand) Bless you, Tompkins! Bless
you! Now I can be believed! (crosses to others L. c. ) The truth seemed
so preposterous before, I dared not tell it. But now oh Tompkins!
Tompkins! (embracing TOMPKINS)

TOMP. (pushing him away) Why this excitement?

DUNN. (going back R. ) Because she, Niobe herself, from the time
immediately after the Trojan war, who was there in the stone, has come
to life!

OMNES. Come to life!!!

DUNN. (on pedestal) The uncovered electric wires imparted some
vital current to the system, which roused the dormant principle of
respiration and circulation, unpetrified her limbs and she is alive;
alive, oh! (goes L. )

Music.

TOMP. (R. c.) Mirabile Dictu! [Latin. "Wonderful to relate"] (goes to
R. corner)

DUNN. Call it what you like, Tompkins, you can't alter it. Ah! She is
here!

NIOBE enters R. c. as Statue, coming down c. white lime on NIOBE.

NIO. (c.) Petramos, I have obeyed you.

TOMP. (R.) The same sweet face!

CAR. (up c.) The same features!

HEL. (L.) The same Costume!

NIO. (c.) You stare most strangely! What does your wonder mean?

DUNN. (R. c.) It means, they have heard the truth and believe it.

TOMP. Niobe! (hands out)

NIO. (seeing TOMPKINS) What man is this?

DUNN. Your owner. The man who paid great treasure to purchase you to
adorn his home.

NIO. Am I then his slave?

TOMP. Say rather I am yours.

(NIOBE advances c.; TOMPKINS to Tier as DUNN goes up to CARRIE
reconciliation business.)

TOMP. Oh filtatese gewnaikos omma kai dommas, ekk s'aelptose, oupot
opsesthai, dokone.

NIO. Ekkeis fthonosdy mee genoito tone theone.

(They turn back to audience, TOMPKINS half embracing her; enter
SILLOCKS, BEATRICE, HATTIE and INNINGS B., from hallway.)

SILL, (up R. c.) Hallo! What's this? A fancy dress ball?

CORN. (L.) Oh no! A new metamorphosis for a modern Ovid. This lady is
the real article, warranted three thousand years in bottle.

SILLOCKS and BEATRICE cross to L., and NIOBE and TOMPKINS go up c.

HAT. (L.) Oh, Corney, what a stretch!

INN. (down L.) Why, she's the exact counterpart of the Statue.

(TOMPKINS and NIOBE go up c. and face audience.)

CAR. (R. c.) She is the Statue!

SILL. (up L. c. ) What does it mean?

DUNN. (L. of CARRIE) It means that Tompkins has no longer an Antique
excuse for living single.

TOMP. (L. of NIOBE) It means, he does not want one.

DUNN. (R. c. ) She'll make you an excellent wife, Tompkins, combining
all the charm of youth with a long worldly experience.

NIO. (c. ) Farewell, Petramos!

DUNN. Good bye!

NIO. Good bye to all.

NIOBE. (aloud to audience) I know you may expect me, from the strain of
such like plays, to turn to stone again, But life is sweet, and faults
if you'll forgive, Sans tears, all smiling Niobe will live.


MUSIC.

CURTAIN.

* * *

THE END


This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia