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Mr. Pim Passes By
by Alan Alexander Milne
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GEORGE (upset). But you—I mean we—

OLIVIA. You are George Marden, I am Olivia Telworthy, you are attracted by me and think I would make you a good wife, and you want to marry me— very well, then, naturally you propose to me first.

GEORGE (falling into the humour of it, as he thinks, and with a hearty laugh moves to below stool L.C.). The baby! Did she want to be proposed to all over again?

OLIVIA (coyly). Well, she did rather.

GEORGE (rather fancying himself as an actor, he adopts what he considers to be an appropriate attitude). She shall then. Er—ah, Mrs. Telworthy, I have long admired you in silence, and the time has now come to put my admiration into words (but apparently he finds a difficulty)—er—er—

OLIVIA (looking up at him quizzically and prompting him into words; repeating). I—I—(Looking down coyly.) Oh, Mr. Marden!

(GEORGE roars with laughter and crosses to centre.)

GEORGE (returning to her). Olivia—er—may I call you Olivia?

OLIVIA. Yes, George.

(OLIVIA puts out her hand and GEORGE notices it.)

GEORGE. I beg your pardon! Oh, I see. (Taking her hand in his he gives it a good slap and she winces.) Olivia, I—(Hesitates.)

OLIVIA. I don't want to interrupt, but oughtn't you to be on your knees? It is—usual, I believe. GEORGE. Really, Olivia, you must allow me to manage my own proposal in my own way.

OLIVIA (meekly—and resuming her coyness). I'm sorry. Do go on.

GEORGE. Well—er—confound it, Olivia, I love you. Will you marry me?

OLIVIA. Thank you, George, I will think it over.

GEORGE (laughing). Silly girl. (Pats her on the shoulder and crosses to R.) Well, then, to-morrow morning. No wedding cake, I'm afraid, Olivia. (He laughs again and moves up centre.) But we'll go and have a good lunch somewhere.

OLIVIA. I will think it over, George.

GEORGE (good-humouredly and coming down to back of settee to her R.). Well, give me a kiss while you're thinking.

OLIVIA. I'm afraid you mustn't kiss me until we are actually engaged.

GEORGE (laughing uneasily, and sitting and leaning over on table L.C. towards OLIVIA). Oh, we needn't take it as seriously as all that.

OLIVIA. But a woman must take a proposal seriously.

GEORGE (a little alarmed at last). What do you mean?

OLIVIA. Well, what I mean is that the whole question—(with a sly look at GEORGE)—as I heard somebody say once, demands much more anxious thought than either of us has given it. These hasty marriages——

GEORGE (rising and crossing at back of OLIVIA round settee and to L. of OLIVIA). Hasty!

OLIVIA. Well, you've only just proposed to me, and you want me to marry you to-morrow.

GEORGE. Now you're talking perfect nonsense, Olivia. You know quite well that our case is utterly different from—well—from any other.

OLIVIA. All the same, one must ask oneself questions. With a young girl like—well, with a young girl—love may well seem to be all that matters. But with a woman of my age it is different. I have to ask myself whether you can afford to support a wife.

GEORGE. You know perfectly well that I can afford to support a wife as my wife should be supported.

OLIVIA. Oh, I am glad. Then your income—you are not really worried about that at all?

GEORGE (stiffly). You know perfectly well what my income is. I see no reason for anxiety, in the future.

OLIVIA. Ah, very well, then we needn't think about it any more.

GEORGE. You know I can't make out what you're up to. (Sits to her L. on settee.) Don't you want to get married—to—er—legalize this extraordinary situation in which we are placed?

OLIVIA. I must consider the whole question very carefully. I can't just jump at the very first offer I have had since my husband died. (Rising and crossing to centre.)

GEORGE. Oh, so I'm under consideration, eh?

OLIVIA (moving up R.C.). Every suitor is.

GEORGE. Oh, very well, go on! Go on!

OLIVIA. Well then, there's your niece. You have a niece living with you. Of course Dinah is a delightful girl, but one doesn't like marrying into a household where there's another grown-up woman. But perhaps she will be getting married herself soon.

GEORGE. I see no prospect of it.

OLIVIA. It would make it so much easier, George, if she did.

GEORGE (rising). Is this a threat, Olivia? (Crossing up to OLIVIA.) Are you telling me that if I do not allow young Strange to marry Dinah, you will not marry me?

OLIVIA. A threat? Oh, no, George. But I was just wondering if you love me as much as Brian loves Dinah. You do love me?

GEORGE (from his heart). Of course I do, old girl.

OLIVIA. You're sure it's not just my pretty face that attracts you. Love which is based upon mere outward appearances cannot result in lasting happiness—as one of our thinkers has observed. (Moving down to settee R.)

GEORGE. Why should you doubt my love? You can't pretend that we haven't been happy together. (OLIVIA sits on settee R.) I've—(taking a chair from L. of table R.C. brings it down to L. of OLIVIA) I've been a good pal to you, eh? We—we suit each other, old girl.

OLIVIA. Do we?

GEORGE (sitting). Well, of course we do.

OLIVIA. I wonder. When two people of our age think of getting married, one wants to be quite sure that there is real community of ideas between them. Supposing that after we have been married some years we found ourselves getting estranged from each other upon such questions as Dinah's future, or the comparatively trivial matter like the right colour for a curtain, or the advice to be given to a friend who had innocently contracted a bigamous marriage. Think how bitterly we should regret our hasty plunge into a matrimony which was no true partnership, whether of tastes or ideas or even of consciences. (With a sigh.) Ah me!

GEORGE (turning to her quickly). Unfortunately for your argument, Olivia, I can answer you out of your own mouth. You seem to have— (laughing)—forgotten what you said this morning in the case of—er— young Strange.

OLIVIA (with exaggerated reproach). Oh, but is it quite fair, George, to drag up what was said this morning?

GEORGE (enjoying his apparent success). Ha ha! You've brought it on yourself.

OLIVIA. I?... Well, and what did I say this morning?

GEORGE. You said that it was quite enough that Strange was n gentleman and in love with Dinah for me to let them marry each other.

OLIVIA. Oh! But is that enough, George?

GEORGE (triumphantly). Well, you said so.

OLIVIA (meekly). Well, George, if you think so too, I'm quite willing to risk it.

GEORGE (kindly, rising and putting back chair up R.C.). Ha ha, my dear! You see!

OLIVIA. Then you do think it's enough?

GEORGE. I—er—yes, yes, I—I think so.

OLIVIA (rising and going to him and putting her hands on his shoulders). My darling one! How jolly! Then we can have a double wedding.

GEORGE (astonished). A double one!

OLIVIA. Yes, you and me, Brian and Dinah.

GEORGE (firmly, and taking her hands from his shoulders). Now look here, Olivia, understand once and for all, I am not to be blackmailed into giving my consent to Dinah's engagement. Neither blackmailed nor tricked. (Crossing to L. below settee.) Our marriage has nothing whatever to do with Dinah's.

OLIVIA. No, dear, I quite understand. They may take place about the same time, but they have nothing whatever to do with each other.

GEORGE (sits on foot of table L.C.). I see no prospect of Dinah's marriage taking place for many years.

OLIVIA. No, dear, that was what I said.

GEORGE (not understanding for the moment). You said——? I see. (Turning and facing her.) Now look here, Olivia, let us have this perfectly clear. You apparently insist on treating my—er—proposal as serious.

OLIVIA (mock surprise). But isn't it? Have you been trifling with me?

GEORGE. You know perfectly well what I mean. You treat it as an ordinary proposal for a man to a woman who have never been anything to each other before. Very well then, will you kindly tell me what you propose to do if you decide to—ah—accept me? You do not suggest that we should go on living together—unmarried?

OLIVIA (shocked). Of course not, George!! What would—(pausing for additional explanation)—the County—I mean Heaven—I mean the Law—I mean—of course not. Besides, it's so unnecessary. If I decide to accept you, of course I shall marry you.

GEORGE. Quite so. And if you—ah—decide to refuse me, what will you do?

OLIVIA. Nothing.

GEORGE. Meaning by that?

OLIVIA. Just that, George. I shall stay here—just as before.

(GEORGE rises and approaches her, about to expostulate.)

I like this house. (Crossing below GEORGE, looking about the room to below settee L.) It wants a little redecorating, but I do like it, George... Yes, I shall be perfectly happy here! (Sits on settee.)

GEORGE. I see. You will continue to live down here—in spite of what you said just now about the—the immorality of it.

OLIVIA (surprised). But what is there immoral in a widow living alone in a big country house—with perhaps the niece of a dear friend of hers— staying with her to keep her company.

GEORGE (sarcastic). Oh, and pray what shall I be doing when you've so very kindly taken possession of my house for me?

OLIVIA. You! Oh, I can't think! Travelling, I expect.

GEORGE (indignant and advancing to her). Thank you! And suppose I refuse to be turned out of my own house?

OLIVIA. Then, seeing that we can't both be in it, it looks as though you'd have to turn me out. (To herself.) There must be legal ways of doing these things. You'd have to consult your solicitor again.

GEORGE. Legal ways?

OLIVIA. Well, you couldn't just throw me out, could you? You'd have to get an injunction against me—

(GEORGE, very annoyed, turns away.)

—or prosecute me for trespass—or something. Of course I shouldn't go if I could help it, I like the house so much.... It would make an awfully unusual case, wouldn't it? The papers would be full of it.

GEORGE. The papers!

OLIVIA (calling as paper boy). Extra special! Widow of well-known ex-convict takes possession of J.P.'s house! Special! Special!

GEORGE (angrily). I've had enough of this. (Coming to table L.C. and speaking across.) Do you mean all this nonsense?

OLIVIA. Well, what I do mean is, that I am in no hurry to go up to London and get married. I love the country just now, and—(with a sigh)—after this morning, I'm—rather tired of husbands.

GEORGE (in a rage). I've never heard so much—damned (bangs table) ... nonsense in my life. I will leave you to come back to your senses.

(He goes out, up staircase up R.)

(OLIVIA rises and crosses to centre, watching GEORGE off. She kisses her hands to him, then turning to L. sees curtains and work-box and extending her arms in ecstasy goes to cabinet, takes them up and comes down L. OLIVIA sits on settee with curtains in her lap and places the work-box to her L. on settee, and as she does so MR. PIM enters from up R. through windows and coming to R. of writing-table taps it with his umbrella to attract OLIVIA'S attention. She turns and sees him. He looks nervously round at staircase R. fearing the return of GEORGE.)

PIM (in a whisper). Er—may I come in, Mrs. Marden?

OLIVIA (in surprise). Mr. Pim!

PIM (anxiously and again looking round at staircase). Mr. Marden is— er—not here?

OLIVIA (getting up). No! Do you want to see him? I will——

PIM (another look round at staircase and moving down centre). No, no, no! Not for the world. There is no immediate danger of his returning, Mrs. Marden?

OLIVIA (surprised). No, I don't think so, Mr. Pim. (Puts down curtains). But... what is it? You——

PIM. I took the liberty of returning by the window in the hope of finding you alone.

OLIVIA (sitting again). Yes?

PIM (still rather nervous and throwing up his arms in distress). Mr. Marden will be so angry with me, and very rightly. Oh, I blame myself. I blame myself entirely. I don't know how I can have been so stupid. (Sits on stool L.C. very concerned).

OLIVIA. What is it, Mr. Pim? My first husband hasn't come to life again, has he?

PIM. No! No! No! (Looking round to R. and speaking very mysteriously across table L.C.) The fact is—his name was Pelwittle.

OLIVIA (at a loss). Whose? My husband's?

PIM. Yes, yes. Henry Pelwittle, poor fellow.

OLIVIA. But my husband's name was Telworthy.

PIM. No! Oh dear, no! Pelwittle. (Firmly.) It came back to me suddenly just as I reached the gate—Henry Pelwittle, poor fellow.

OLIVIA. But really, Mr. Pim, I ought to know.

PIM. No! No! Pelwittle.

OLIVIA. But who is Pelwittle?

PIM (in surprise at her stupidity). The man I told you about, who met with the sad fatality at Marseilles. Henry Pelwittle.... (With hand on chin, thinking deeply.) Or was it Ernest? No! Henry Pelwittle, poor fellow.

OLIVIA (indignantly). But, Mr. Pim, you said his name was Telworthy. How could you?

PIM. Oh, I blame myself, I blame myself entirely.

OLIVIA. But how could you think of a name like Telworthy if it wasn't Telworthy?

PIM (eagerly). Ah, ah, that is the really interesting thing about the whole matter.

OLIVIA (reproachfully). Yes, Mr. Pim, all your visits here to-day have been very interesting.

PIM. Oh, very interesting, very interesting, You see, Mrs. Marden, when I made my first appearance here this morning I was received by—Miss Diana, who——

OLIVIA. Dinah!

PIM. I beg your pardon?

OLIVIA. Dinah. Her name is Dinah!

PIM (pauses). You're quite right. Dinah—oh yes. Miss Dinah, yes. She was in—er—rather a communicative mood, and I suppose by way of passing the time she mentioned that before your marriage—to Mr. Marden you had been a Mrs.—er——

OLIVIA. Telworthy.

PIM. Telworthy, yes, of course. She also mentioned Australia. Now by some curious process of the brain—which strikes me as decidedly curious—when I was trying to recollect—the name of the poor fellow on the boat, whom you will remember I had also met in Australia, the fact that this other name was also stored in my memory, a name equally peculiar—this fact I say——

OLIVIA (seeing that the sentence is rapidly going to pieces). Yes, I quite understand.

PIM. I blame myself, I blame myself entirely.

OLIVIA. Oh, you mustn't do that, Mr. Pim.

PIM. Oh, but, Mrs. Marden, can you forgive me for the needless distress I have caused you to-day?

OLIVIA. Oh, you mustn't worry about that, please.

PIM. And you will tell your husband—you'll break the news to him?

OLIVIA (amazed). Oh, yes! I'll break the news to him.

PIM (rising and holding out his hand). Well then, I think before he comes back I will say good-bye and—er——

OLIVIA (rising). Just a moment, Mr. Pim. Let us have it quite clear this time. You never knew my husband Jacob Telworthy?

PIM. No!

OLIVIA. You never met him in Australia?

PIM. No!

OLIVIA. You never saw him on the boat?

PIM. No!

OLIVIA. And nothing whatever happened to him at Marseilles?

PIM. No!

OLIVIA. Is that right?

PIM (hesitating and thinking it out very deeply). I think so.

OLIVIA. Very well, then, since his death was announced in Australia six years ago, he is presumably still dead?

PIM. Undoubtedly.

OLIVIA (holding out her hand with a charming smile). Then good-bye, Mr. Pim, and thank you so much for—for all your trouble.

PIM. Not at all, Mrs. Marden. I blame myself, I blame myself entirely.

OLIVIA. Oh! You mustn't do that.

(Going up centre PIM meets DINAH, who enters from the window up L., crosses at back of writing-table and comes down R. of him).

(DINAH is followed by BRIAN, who is on her R.).

DINAH. Hullo, there's Mr. Pim. (To BRIAN.)

PIM (nervously looking at the door in case MR. MARDEN should come in). Yes, yes I—er—

DINAH. Oh, Mr. Pim, you mustn't run away without even saying how-do-you-do! Are you staying to tea?

PIM (looking off at staircase nervously). I'm afraid I—

OLIVIA. Mr. Pim has to hurry away, Dinah. You mustn't keep him.

DINAH. Well, but you'll come back again?

PIM. I fear that I am only a passer-by, Miss—er—Dinah.

OLIVIA. You can take Mr. Pim as far as the gate.

PIM (gratefully to OLIVIA). Thank you. (With nervous look at staircase R., he edges towards the windows.) If you would be so kind, Miss Dinah—.

DINAH (taking his arm). Come along then, Mr. Pim.

BRIAN. I'll catch you up.

DINAH (taking him up L.). I want to hear all about your first wife.

PIM. Oh, but I haven't got a first wife.

DINAH. You haven't really told me anything yet.

(They go off up L.)

BRIAN. I'll catch you up.

(OLIVIA resumes her work, and BRIAN crosses down to foot of table L.C., and sits on it.)

BRIAN (awkwardly). I just wanted to say, if you don't think it cheek, that I'm—I'm on your side, if I may be and if I can help you at all, I shall be very proud of being allowed to.

OLIVIA (looking up at him and taking his hand). Brian, you dear, that's sweet of you. But it's quite all right now, you know.

BRIAN. What?

OLIVIA. Yes, that's what Mr. Pim came back to say. He'd made a mistake about the name—

BRIAN (rising). Good Lord!

OLIVIA (smiling). George is the only husband I have.

BRIAN (surprised). What? You mean that the whole thing that Pim— OLIVIA (repeating). The whole thing.

BRIAN (crossing up to window R. and shouting off to L. and with conviction). Silly ass!

OLIVIA (kindly). Oh, no, no, I'm sure he didn't mean to be. (After a pause.) Brian, do you know anything about the law?

BRIAN (coming down C.). The law? I'm afraid not. I hate the law. Why? (Sits at foot of table L.C.)

OLIVIA. Well, I was just wondering. Suppose that George and I had accidentally married each other a second time thinking that the first marriage wasn't quite right, and then we found the first marriage was all right—well——

BRIAN. What on earth do you mean?

OLIVIA. Well, what I mean is that there's nothing wrong in marrying the same person twice?

BRIAN (rising and moving to centre, thinking it out). Oh, no. A hundred times if you like, I should think.

OLIVIA. Oh!

BRIAN. After all, in France they always go through it twice, don't they? Once before the Mayor or somebody, and once in church.

OLIVIA. Of course they do! How silly of me. You know, that's a very good idea. They ought to do that more in England.

BRIAN. Well, once will be enough for Dinah and me, if you can work it. (Anxiously.) D'you think there's any chance, Olivia?

OLIVIA (smiling). Every chance, dear.

BRIAN (coming to above table L.C.). I say, do you really? Have you squared him? I mean has he——

(GEORGE is heard humming the tune of "Pop goes the weasel" off R.)

OLIVIA. You go and catch them up now. We'll talk about it later on.

BRIAN. Bless you. Right-o!

(Going up L. and off up L.)

(As he goes out by the windows, GEORGE comes in at the doors R. GEORGE stands R.C., and then turns to OLIVIA, who is absorbed in her curtain. He walks up and down the room, fidgeting with things, waiting for her to speak. As she says nothing, he begins to talk himself, but in an obviously unconcerned way. There is a pause after each answer of hers, before he gets out his next remark.)

GEORGE (casually). Good-looking fellow, Strange. What?

OLIVIA (equally casually). Brian, yes, isn't he? And such a nice boy.

GEORGE. Yes, yes! (Catching sight of curtain she is sewing. Hums the tune of "Pop goes the weasel"—crossing down R. to piano, plays a few notes of "Pop goes the weasel" with one finger.) Got fifty pounds for a picture the other day, didn't he? (Moving up stage a little.)

OLIVIA. Ah, yes! Of course he has only just begun——

GEORGE. The critics think well of him, (Slight pause.) What?

(Up C. by chair front of writing-table.)

OLIVIA. They all say he has genius. Oh, I don't think there's any doubt about it. (Pause.)

(GEORGE left of writing-table.)

GEORGE. No, no! (Slight pause, and he sings again.) Of course I don't profess to know anything about painting, myself.

OLIVIA. You've never had time to take it up, dear.

GEORGE (coming down L. a little.) No! No! Of course I know what I like. Can't say I see much in this new-fangled stuff. If a man can paint, why can't he paint like—like Rubens, or—or Reynolds, or——

OLIVIA. I suppose we all have our own styles. Brian will be finding his, directly. Of course, he's only just beginning. (Pause.)

GEORGE (crossing up centre). Yes, yes. But the critics think a lot of him, what?

OLIVIA. Oh, yes.

GEORGE. Yes! H'm! (Pause.) Good-looking fellow.

(There is rather a longer silence this time. GEORGE coming round back of settee L. continues to hope that he is appearing casual and unconcerned—he stands looking at OLIVIA'S work for a moment.)

GEORGE (down L.). Nearly finished 'em?

OLIVIA. Very nearly. (Smiling to herself, turns away to R., pretending to look for scissors.) Have you seen my scissors anywhere?

GEORGE (looking round). Scissors?

OLIVIA (turns to L. and finds them in her work-box). It's all right, here they are——

GEORGE (down L. below chair facing OLIVIA). Where are you thinking of hanging 'em?

OLIVIA (as if really wondering). I don't quite know.... I had thought of this room, but—I'm not quite sure.

GEORGE (crossing below OLIVIA to centre). Ah! Yes! Brighten the room up a bit.

OLIVIA. Yes.

GEORGE (walking up centre a little towards windows). H'm, yes——They are a bit faded.

OLIVIA (shaking out hers, and looking at them critically). You know, sometimes I think I love them, and sometimes I'm not quite sure.

GEORGE. Best way is to hang 'em up and see how you like 'em. Always take 'em down again.

OLIVIA. Oh, that's a good idea, George.

GEORGE. Best way.

OLIVIA. Yes.... I think we might try that—(looking round at settee and carpets, etc.)—the only thing is—(She hesitates.)

GEORGE. What?

OLIVIA. Well, the carpets and the chair-covers and the cushions and things—

GEORGE. Well, what about 'em?

OLIVIA. Well, if we had new curtains—

GEORGE. You'd want a new carpet, eh?

OLIVIA (doubtfully). Well, new chair-covers, anyhow.

GEORGE. H'm!... Well, why not?

OLIVIA. Oh, but—

GEORGE (with an awkward laugh). We're not so hard up as all that, you know.

OLIVIA (quickly). No, I don't suppose we are really—

GEORGE. No, no, no, yes—I mean no.

OLIVIA (thoughtfully). I suppose it would mean that I should have to go up to London to choose them. You know, that's rather a nuisance.

GEORGE (extremely casual and moving towards OLIVIA). Oh, I don't know. We might go up together one day.

OLIVIA. Well, of course if we were up—for anything else—

GEORGE (moving away dubiously). Yes, yes! That's what I meant.

(There is another silence. GEORGE is wondering whether to come to closer quarters with the great question.)

OLIVIA. Oh, by the way, George—

GEORGE. Yes?

OLIVIA (innocently). I told Brian, and of course he'll tell Dinah, that Mr. Pim had made a mistake about the name.

GEORGE (astonished, moving towards OLIVIA). Mistake about the name?

OLIVIA. Yes—I told Brian that the whole thing was a mistake, I thought that was the simplest way.

GEORGE. Olivia—(crossing below and to her L.)—then you mean that Brian and Dinah think that—that we have been married all the time?

OLIVIA. Yes.

GEORGE (coming closer to her). Olivia, does that mean that you are thinking of marrying me?

OLIVIA. At your old registry office?

GEORGE (eagerly). Yes!

OLIVIA. To-morrow?

GEORGE. Yes.

OLIVIA. Do you want me to very much?

GEORGE. My darling, you know I do.

OLIVIA. We should have to keep it very quiet, George.

GEORGE. Well, of course—(sitting to her L.)—nobody need know. We don't want anybody to know. And now that you've put Brian and Dinah off the scent, by telling them that—(he breaks off and says admiringly)— that was very clever of you, Olivia. I should never have thought of that.

OLIVIA (innocently). George—you don't think it was wrong, do you?

GEORGE (his verdict, taking her hands and patting them). An innocent deception... perfectly harmless.

OLIVIA. Yes, dear, that was what I thought about—about—(laughing to herself) what I was doing.

GEORGE. Then you will come up to London to-morrow?

(She nods.)

And if we should see a carpet or anything else we want——

OLIVIA. Oh, George!

GEORGE (beaming, rising and backing away to L. a little). And lunch at the Carlton, what?

OLIVIA (nodding eagerly). Oh!

GEORGE. And—and a bit of a honeymoon in Paris?

OLIVIA. Oh, what fun!

GEORGE (hungrily). Give me a kiss, old girl.

OLIVIA (lovingly). George!

(She holds up her cheek to him. He kisses it, and then suddenly takes her in his arms.)

GEORGE. Don't ever leave me, old girl.

OLIVIA (affectionately). Don't ever send me away, old boy.

GEORGE (fervently). I won't. (Awkwardly.) I—I don't think I should have really, you know. I—I——

(DINAH enters from up L. and crosses at back of writing-table and round down R. BRIAN follows her.)

DINAH (seeing the embrace, surprised). Oo—I say!

(GEORGE looks and feels rather a fool.)

GEORGE. Hallo!

(OLIVIA sits, resumes sewing.)

DINAH (coming down centre and going below settee L., impetuously to him). Give me one, too, George. Brian won't mind.

GEORGE (formally, but enjoying it). Do you mind, Mr. Strange?

BRIAN (a little uncomfortable). Oh, I say, sir——

GEORGE. We'll risk it, Dinah. (He kisses her.)

DINAH (triumphantly to BRIAN and standing above GEORGE). Did you notice that one? That wasn't just an ordinary affectionate kiss. That was a special "bless you my children" one. (To GEORGE.) Wasn't it?

OLIVIA. You do talk nonsense, darling.

DINAH (crossing quickly below and to R. of BRIAN). Well, I'm so happy now that Pim has relented about your first husband—(GEORGE catches OLIVIA'S eye and smiles; she smiles back; but they are different smiles.)

GEORGE (the actor). Yes, yes, stupid fellow, Pim, what?

BRIAN. Yes. Absolute idiot, I think!

DINAH. And now that George has relented about—(with a significant look at BRIAN)—my first husband——

GEORGE. Here, you get on much too quickly. (Crossing below OLIVIA to BRIAN.) So you want to marry my Dinah, eh?

BRIAN (with a smile). Well, I do rather, sir.

GEORGE (to BRIAN). Well, you'd better have a talk with me about it—er— (with a sly look at OLIVIA)—Brian.

BRIAN. Thank you very much, sir.

(GEORGE goes up and BRIAN, imitating his walk, accompanies him.)

GEORGE. Well, come along then. (BRIAN looks at his watch.) I am going up to town after tea, so we'd better——

DINAH (moving up to R. of BRIAN). I say, are you going to London?

GEORGE (with a sly look at OLIVIA). Yes, a little business.

DINAH (cheekily). Eh?

GEORGE. Never you mind, young woman. (To BRIAN.) Come along, we'll stroll down and look at the pigs.

BRIAN. Right-o!

(They are going off to L. when OLIVIA calls.)

OLIVIA. George, don't go too far away; I may want you.

GEORGE. All right! I'll be out on the terrace. Give me a shout if you want me.

(GEORGE and BRIAN go off at windows up L.)

(DINAH follows up R. and watches them off.)

DINAH (watching them off). Brian and George always discuss me in front of the pigs. So tactless of them. I say, are you going to London, too, darling? (Coming down to table L.C.)

OLIVIA. To-morrow——(Rising and shaking out curtains.)

DINAH. What are you going to do in London?

OLIVIA. Oh, shopping and—one or two little things.

DINAH. With George?

OLIVIA. Yes. (Crossing up centre below DINAH with curtains.)

DINAH (sits on table L.C.). I say, wasn't it lovely about Pim?

OLIVIA. Lovely?

DINAH. Yes, he told me all about it. Making such a hash of things, I mean.

OLIVIA (innocently). Did he make a hash of things?

DINAH. Well, I mean keeping on coming like that. And if you look at it all round—well, for all he had to say, he needn't have come at all.

OLIVIA. Well, I don't think I should put it quite like that, Dinah.

DINAH (referring to curtains). I say, aren't they jolly?

OLIVIA. I'm so glad everybody likes them. Tell George I'm ready, dear.

DINAH. I say, is he going to put them up for you?

OLIVIA. Well, I thought perhaps he could reach better.

DINAH. All right, I'll tell him. (Crossing up L. on to terrace and calling off.) George! (Returning to back L. end of writing-table.) Brian is just telling George about the five shillings he has in the Post Office—(crossing up L. on to terrace again and calling off.) George!!

GEORGE (from off L.). Coming!

DINAH (playfully coming down centre, imitating a fairy's footsteps). Slow music while the curtains go up. (Sits at piano and plays "As I passed by your Window.")

(GEORGE enters from up L., followed by BRIAN.)

GEORGE (to OLIVIA). What is it, darling?

OLIVIA. I wish you'd help me to put up these curtains?

GEORGE. Of course, dear. I'd better get the library steps. (Crosses to doors R. and exits.)

(BRIAN goes quickly to OLIVIA and gratefully kisses her hand, then comes down to DINAH and bows to her.)

BRIAN. Madam! I have the honour to inform you that hence-forward you are at liberty to regard me as your affianced husband.

DINAH (rising quickly and advancing). Darling!

BRIAN (waving her back). No! No! Stay there! (She retreats and sits at piano.) Go on playing.

(DINAH goes on playing and he takes out a sketch-book, sits on settee and sketches her.)

DINAH. What is it?

(OLIVIA comes down centre, watching them.)

BRIAN. Portrait of Lady Strange.

(GEORGE enters from doors R. with steps and crossing up R. places them near R. window.)

OLIVIA (she hands him the curtains and goes up L. of writing table and round back, watching GEORGE). Are you ready, dear?

GEORGE (mounting the steps). Yes, quite ready.

OLIVIA. There! (The curtains become entangled and he nearly falls.) Oh, take care, dear!

GEORGE (again mounting steps). Oh, that's all right, dear. They're a little long. (The curtains become entangled round his head.)

(MR. PIM enters mysteriously from up L.)

(OLIVIA is looking up at GEORGE.)

(PIM touches her on the shoulder and with a start she turns to him. DINAH seeing him enter stops playing. OLIVIA, unwilling to attract GEORGE'S attention, signals to DINAH to continue playing, and, she does so.)

PIM. Mrs. Marden! I had to come back—I've just remembered his name was Ernest Polwittle—not Henry! (Going off up L.) Not Henry!

(DINAH plays forte.)

QUICK CURTAIN.



SCENE PLOT



Oak panelled chamber, with deep decorative frieze.

Ceiling cloth, painted with carved oak beams.

Fireplace.—Large open stone fireplace decorated all over with flutings and carved stone

Doors.—Heavy oak doors down R. to open off.

Windows.—C. windows (French windows) opening on stage from terrace.

Stairs.—Stairs up back R. with carved balustrade. Transparent windows stained glass at top of stairway.

Back cloth.—Painted garden and terrace with stone seat C.



PROPERTY PLOT



ACT I

Stage cloth down.—Parquette stage cloth with marble pavement piece attached at back for terrace

Persian carpet laid up and down R.

Persian carpet laid up and down L.

Settee set across down L. (Jacobean settee upholstered in tapestry).

On settee L. Two tapestry cushions.

Occasional Jacobean table to R. of settee down L.

Stool.—Upholstered in rose R. of table.

Semi-grand piano, with keyboard down stage, down R. below double doors.

On piano.—Dinah's musical instrument. Silk pink brocade piano cover. Photo of Olivia in frame. Photo of George Marden in frame. Photo of Dinah in frame. Photo of Brian in frame. E.P. mirror. Blue china bowl containing flowers. Quantity of music.

Occasional Jacobean chair.—Below piano.

Settee (small Queen Anne cane-backed) upholstered in tapestry set up and down stage against and to L. of piano.

Cushion—dark gold brocade—on settee.

Table (occasional Jacobean) above settee to L., of piano.

On table.—Illustrated papers. Rose-coloured piece of brocade.

Chair (occasional Jacobean with rose-coloured squab) L. of occasional table above settee.

Sideboard (Jacobean) up R. against back wall.

On sideboard.—Metal bowl (with flowers) Match stand. Matches (safety). Ash tray. Tobacco jar filled. George's pipe filled. Photo in frame. Cigarette box (with cigarettes). Vase lamp with shade.

Arm-chair (Jacobean with rose-coloured squab)—L. of sideboard facing out of windows.

Curtains.—Pair of rose-coloured corduroy curtains with tie backs for centre windows. Single rose-coloured corduroy curtain for archway up R. hung on upstage side of arch.

Stairs.—Painted canvas ataircloth. Brass stair rods.

Occasional chair (Jacobean with rose-coloured squab).—L. of windows and against back wall.

Table (occasional Jacobean).—Up L. against back wall. On table.—Metal bowl containing pink azalea plant in pot.

Writing-table.—In front and below C. windows (leather topped). On writing-table.—Specimen glass with flowers Writing materials. Matches in stand. Ash tray. Paper and pen rack. Small bookcase.

Arm-chair (Jacobean) below writing-table C.

Large cabinet (Jacobean Court cupboard) with three cupboard doors and on short legs—up L. against L. wall above fireplace. In cupboard.—Very pronounced yellow and black curtains with webbing arranged for Olivia to stitch on rings. Work-box for Olivia containing needles, thread, quantity of rings, scissors. On top of cupboard.—Metal bowl with palm in pot. Pair of scissors (extra as an emergency for Brian's business). Large glass with flowers.

Waste-paper basket.—To L. of writing-table.

Fireplace (L.).—Brass dogs and antique fire tongs.

Combined brass switch and bell pushes on wall down L. below fireplace.

Brass spill-box above bell pushes on wall L. below fireplace.

Table (small Jacobean round cane topped) in angle of fireplace and wall down L. below fireplace. On table.—Match stand and matches (safety). Ash tray.

Arm-chair(Jacobean with rose-coloured squab) down L. and to R. of circular table L. facing up stage.

Pictures on walls.—Picture in gold frame on wall down R. Picture in gold frame on wall above double doors R. Picture in gold frame R. of R. wall at back. Picture in gold frame L. of R. wall at back. Picture in gold frame R. of L. back wall. Picture in gold frame L. of L. back wail.



HAND PROPERTIES.

Off R.—Card salver and card for Anne. Letter in envelope unstamped on salver. Letter in envelope stamped for Mr. Pim. Letter in envelope not stamped for George Marden. Gentleman's visiting card (Mr. Carraway Pim) for George Marden.

ACT II

Same Scene and Properties. Dinah's small guitar on piano.

Set on Terrace 3 light green canvas camp chairs. 2 green and white striped camp chairs. Folding camp table with green baize top.

Curtains refolded and placed in cupboard Left.

Off R. Large double handled E.P. tray. 5 coffee cups (coloured for coffee) and saucers 5 coffee spoons. Sugar basin with sugar.

Small hunting crop for Lady Marden. Thick leather gloves for Lady Marden. Cigarette case for Brian.

ACT III

Same Set and Furniture as Act II.

Off R.—Pair of short library steps (for George Marden).



ELECTRIC PLOT

Chandelier (C.).—Jacobean bronze 6-light chandelier hanging centre NOT lighted.

Brackets on walls. One on wall down L. One each side of back wall between windows and staircase R. One each side of back wall between windows and wall L. All above pictures, not lighted.

Fire in fireplace, NOT LIGHTED.

Lengths.—Length in stairway, amber and white. Length in entrance by double door down R.

Foots.—Amber and white.

Battens.—Ceiling batten, amber and white. No. 5 batten, amber and white.

Arcs.—2 perch arcs o.p. ) 2 perch arcs p.s. ) Light amber and frost. No. 1 o.p. flood stage down L.C. No. 2 o.p. on settee down R. No. 1 p.s. on settee L. No. 2 p.s. on stool and flood C.

Flood Arcs.—Two flood arcs on back cloth L. and R. Flood arc on transparency windows above stairs R. Focus arc through windows C., L. of windows of writing-table and doors down R. into room. Sunlight effect.

To open.—All lights full up and remain for Acts I, II and III.

THE END

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