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Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw

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THE CAPTAIN. This! Nonsense! not a bit like him [he goes away
through the garden, shutting the door sharply behind him].

LADY UTTERWORD. I will not be ignored and pretended to be
somebody else. I will have it out with Papa now, this instant.
[To Mazzini]. Excuse me. [She follows the captain out, making a
hasty bow to Mazzini, who returns it].

MRS HUSHABYE [hospitably shaking hands]. How good of you to come,
Mr Dunn! You don't mind Papa, do you? He is as mad as a hatter,
you know, but quite harmless and extremely clever. You will have
some delightful talks with him.

MAZZINI. I hope so. [To Ellie]. So here you are, Ellie, dear. [He
draws her arm affectionately through his]. I must thank you, Mrs
Hushabye, for your kindness to my daughter. I'm afraid she would
have had no holiday if you had not invited her.

MRS HUSHABYE. Not at all. Very nice of her to come and attract
young people to the house for us.

MAZZINI [smiling]. I'm afraid Ellie is not interested in young
men, Mrs Hushabye. Her taste is on the graver, solider side.

MRS HUSHABYE [with a sudden rather hard brightness in her
manner]. Won't you take off your overcoat, Mr Dunn? You will find
a cupboard for coats and hats and things in the corner of the

MAZZINI [hastily releasing Ellie]. Yes--thank you--I had better--
[he goes out].

MRS HUSHABYE [emphatically]. The old brute!


MRS HUSHABYE. Who! Him. He. It [pointing after Mazzini]. "Graver,
solider tastes," indeed!

ELLIE [aghast]. You don't mean that you were speaking like that
of my father!

MRS HUSHABYE. I was. You know I was.

ELLIE [with dignity]. I will leave your house at once. [She turns
to the door].

MRS HUSHABYE. If you attempt it, I'll tell your father why.

ELLIE [turning again]. Oh! How can you treat a visitor like this,
Mrs Hushabye?

MRS HUSHABYE. I thought you were going to call me Hesione.

ELLIE. Certainly not now?

MRS HUSHABYE. Very well: I'll tell your father.

ELLIE [distressed]. Oh!

MRS HUSHABYE. If you turn a hair--if you take his part against me
and against your own heart for a moment, I'll give that born
soldier of freedom a piece of my mind that will stand him on his
selfish old head for a week.

ELLIE. Hesione! My father selfish! How little you know--

She is interrupted by Mazzini, who returns, excited and

MAZZINI. Ellie, Mangan has come: I thought you'd like to know.
Excuse me, Mrs Hushabye, the strange old gentleman--

MRS HUSHABYE. Papa. Quite so.

MAZZINI. Oh, I beg your pardon, of course: I was a little
confused by his manner. He is making Mangan help him with
something in the garden; and he wants me too--

A powerful whistle is heard.

THE CAPTAIN'S VOICE. Bosun ahoy! [the whistle is repeated].

MAZZINI [flustered]. Oh dear! I believe he is whistling for me.
[He hurries out].

MRS HUSHABYE. Now MY father is a wonderful man if you like.

ELLIE. Hesione, listen to me. You don't understand. My father and
Mr Mangan were boys together. Mr Ma--

MRS HUSHABYE. I don't care what they were: we must sit down if
you are going to begin as far back as that. [She snatches at
Ellie's waist, and makes her sit down on the sofa beside her].
Now, pettikins, tell me all about Mr Mangan. They call him Boss
Mangan, don't they? He is a Napoleon of industry and disgustingly
rich, isn't he? Why isn't your father rich?

ELLIE. My poor father should never have been in business. His
parents were poets; and they gave him the noblest ideas; but they
could not afford to give him a profession.

MRS HUSHABYE. Fancy your grandparents, with their eyes in fine
frenzy rolling! And so your poor father had to go into business.
Hasn't he succeeded in it?

ELLIE. He always used to say he could succeed if he only had some
capital. He fought his way along, to keep a roof over our heads
and bring us up well; but it was always a struggle: always the
same difficulty of not having capital enough. I don't know how to
describe it to you.

MRS HUSHABYE. Poor Ellie! I know. Pulling the devil by the tail.

ELLIE [hurt]. Oh, no. Not like that. It was at least dignified.

MRS HUSHABYE. That made it all the harder, didn't it? I shouldn't
have pulled the devil by the tail with dignity. I should have
pulled hard--[between her teeth] hard. Well? Go on.

ELLIE. At last it seemed that all our troubles were at an end. Mr
Mangan did an extraordinarily noble thing out of pure friendship
for my father and respect for his character. He asked him how
much capital he wanted, and gave it to him. I don't mean that he
lent it to him, or that he invested it in his business. He just
simply made him a present of it. Wasn't that splendid of him?

MRS HUSHABYE. On condition that you married him?

ELLIE. Oh, no, no, no! This was when I was a child. He had never
even seen me: he never came to our house. It was absolutely
disinterested. Pure generosity.

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh! I beg the gentleman's pardon. Well, what became
of the money?

ELLIE. We all got new clothes and moved into another house. And I
went to another school for two years.

MRS HUSHABYE. Only two years?

ELLIE. That was all: for at the end of two years my father was
utterly ruined.


ELLIE. I don't know. I never could understand. But it was
dreadful. When we were poor my father had never been in debt. But
when he launched out into business on a large scale, he had to
incur liabilities. When the business went into liquidation he
owed more money than Mr Mangan had given him.

MRS HUSHABYE. Bit off more than he could chew, I suppose.

ELLIE. I think you are a little unfeeling about it.

MRS HUSHABYE. My pettikins, you mustn't mind my way of talking. I
was quite as sensitive and particular as you once; but I have
picked up so much slang from the children that I am really hardly
presentable. I suppose your father had no head for business, and
made a mess of it.

ELLIE. Oh, that just shows how entirely you are mistaken about
him. The business turned out a great success. It now pays
forty-four per cent after deducting the excess profits tax.

MRS HUSHABYE. Then why aren't you rolling in money?

ELLIE. I don't know. It seems very unfair to me. You see, my
father was made bankrupt. It nearly broke his heart, because he
had persuaded several of his friends to put money into the
business. He was sure it would succeed; and events proved that he
was quite right. But they all lost their money. It was dreadful.
I don't know what we should have done but for Mr Mangan.

MRS HUSHABYE. What! Did the Boss come to the rescue again, after
all his money being thrown away?

ELLIE. He did indeed, and never uttered a reproach to my father.
He bought what was left of the business--the buildings and the
machinery and things--from the official trustee for enough money
to enable my father to pay six-and-eight-pence in the pound and
get his discharge. Everyone pitied Papa so much, and saw so
plainly that he was an honorable man, that they let him off at
six-and-eight-pence instead of ten shillings. Then Mr. Mangan
started a company to take up the business, and made my father a
manager in it to save us from starvation; for I wasn't earning
anything then.

MRS. HUSHABYE. Quite a romance. And when did the Boss develop the
tender passion?

ELLIE. Oh, that was years after, quite lately. He took the chair
one night at a sort of people's concert. I was singing there. As
an amateur, you know: half a guinea for expenses and three songs
with three encores. He was so pleased with my singing that he
asked might he walk home with me. I never saw anyone so taken
aback as he was when I took him home and introduced him to my
father, his own manager. It was then that my father told me how
nobly he had behaved. Of course it was considered a great chance
for me, as he is so rich. And--and--we drifted into a sort of
understanding--I suppose I should call it an engagement--[she is
distressed and cannot go on].

MRS HUSHABYE [rising and marching about]. You may have drifted
into it; but you will bounce out of it, my pettikins, if I am to
have anything to do with it.

ELLIE [hopelessly]. No: it's no use. I am bound in honor and
gratitude. I will go through with it.

MRS HUSHABYE [behind the sofa, scolding down at her]. You know,
of course, that it's not honorable or grateful to marry a man you
don't love. Do you love this Mangan man?

ELLIE. Yes. At least--

MRS HUSHABYE. I don't want to know about "at least": I want to
know the worst. Girls of your age fall in love with all sorts of
impossible people, especially old people.

ELLIE. I like Mr Mangan very much; and I shall always be--

MRS HUSHABYE [impatiently completing the sentence and prancing
away intolerantly to starboard]. --grateful to him for his
kindness to dear father. I know. Anybody else?

ELLIE. What do you mean?

MRS HUSHABYE. Anybody else? Are you in love with anybody else?

ELLIE. Of course not.

MRS HUSHABYE. Humph! [The book on the drawing-table catches her
eye. She picks it up, and evidently finds the title very
unexpected. She looks at Ellie, and asks, quaintly] Quite sure
you're not in love with an actor?

ELLIE. No, no. Why? What put such a thing into your head?

MRS HUSHABYE. This is yours, isn't it? Why else should you be
reading Othello?

ELLIE. My father taught me to love Shakespeare.

MRS HUSHAYE [flinging the book down on the table]. Really! your
father does seem to be about the limit.

ELLIE [naively]. Do you never read Shakespeare, Hesione? That
seems to me so extraordinary. I like Othello.

MRS HUSHABYE. Do you, indeed? He was jealous, wasn't he?

ELLIE. Oh, not that. I think all the part about jealousy is
horrible. But don't you think it must have been a wonderful
experience for Desdemona, brought up so quietly at home, to meet
a man who had been out in the world doing all sorts of brave
things and having terrible adventures, and yet finding something
in her that made him love to sit and talk with her and tell her
about them?

MRS HUSHABYE. That's your idea of romance, is it?

ELLIE. Not romance, exactly. It might really happen.

Ellie's eyes show that she is not arguing, but in a daydream. Mrs
Hushabye, watching her inquisitively, goes deliberately back to
the sofa and resumes her seat beside her.

MRS HUSHABYE. Ellie darling, have you noticed that some of those
stories that Othello told Desdemona couldn't have happened--?

ELLIE. Oh, no. Shakespeare thought they could have happened.

MRS HUSHABYE. Hm! Desdemona thought they could have happened. But
they didn't.

ELLIE. Why do you look so enigmatic about it? You are such a
sphinx: I never know what you mean.

MRS HUSHABYE. Desdemona would have found him out if she had
lived, you know. I wonder was that why he strangled her!

ELLIE. Othello was not telling lies.

MRS HUSHABYE. How do you know?

ELLIE. Shakespeare would have said if he was. Hesione, there are
men who have done wonderful things: men like Othello, only, of
course, white, and very handsome, and--

MRS HUSHABYE. Ah! Now we're coming to it. Tell me all about him.
I knew there must be somebody, or you'd never have been so
miserable about Mangan: you'd have thought it quite a lark to
marry him.

ELLIE [blushing vividly]. Hesione, you are dreadful. But I don't
want to make a secret of it, though of course I don't tell
everybody. Besides, I don't know him.

MRS HUSHABYE. Don't know him! What does that mean?

ELLIE. Well, of course I know him to speak to.

MRS HUSHABYE. But you want to know him ever so much more
intimately, eh?

ELLIE. No, no: I know him quite--almost intimately.

MRS HUSHABYE. You don't know him; and you know him almost
intimately. How lucid!

ELLIE. I mean that he does not call on us. I--I got into
conversation with him by chance at a concert.

MRS HUSHABYE. You seem to have rather a gay time at your
concerts, Ellie.

ELLIE. Not at all: we talk to everyone in the greenroom waiting
for our turns. I thought he was one of the artists: he looked so
splendid. But he was only one of the committee. I happened to
tell him that I was copying a picture at the National Gallery. I
make a little money that way. I can't paint much; but as it's
always the same picture I can do it pretty quickly and get two or
three pounds for it. It happened that he came to the National
Gallery one day.

MRS HUSHABYE. One students' day. Paid sixpence to stumble about
through a crowd of easels, when he might have come in next day
for nothing and found the floor clear! Quite by accident?

ELLIE [triumphantly]. No. On purpose. He liked talking to me. He
knows lots of the most splendid people. Fashionable women who are
all in love with him. But he ran away from them to see me at the
National Gallery and persuade me to come with him for a drive
round Richmond Park in a taxi.

MRS HUSHABYE. My pettikins, you have been going it. It's
wonderful what you good girls can do without anyone saying a

ELLIE. I am not in society, Hesione. If I didn't make
acquaintances in that way I shouldn't have any at all.

MRS HUSHABYE. Well, no harm if you know how to take care of
yourself. May I ask his name?

ELLIE [slowly and musically]. Marcus Darnley.

MRS HUSHABYE [echoing the music]. Marcus Darnley! What a splendid

ELLIE. Oh, I'm so glad you think so. I think so too; but I was
afraid it was only a silly fancy of my own.

MRS HUSHABYE. Hm! Is he one of the Aberdeen Darnleys?

ELLIE. Nobody knows. Just fancy! He was found in an antique


ELLIE. An antique chest, one summer morning in a rose garden,
after a night of the most terrible thunderstorm.

MRS HUSHABYE. What on earth was he doing in the chest? Did he get
into it because he was afraid of the lightning?

ELLIE. Oh, no, no: he was a baby. The name Marcus Darnley was
embroidered on his baby clothes. And five hundred pounds in gold.

MRS HUSHABYE [Looking hard at her]. Ellie!

ELLIE. The garden of the Viscount--

MRS HUSHABYE. --de Rougemont?

ELLIE [innocently]. No: de Larochejaquelin. A French family. A
vicomte. His life has been one long romance. A tiger--

MRS HUSHABYE. Slain by his own hand?

ELLIE. Oh, no: nothing vulgar like that. He saved the life of the
tiger from a hunting party: one of King Edward's hunting parties
in India. The King was furious: that was why he never had his
military services properly recognized. But he doesn't care. He is
a Socialist and despises rank, and has been in three revolutions
fighting on the barricades.

MRS HUSHABYE. How can you sit there telling me such lies? You,
Ellie, of all people! And I thought you were a perfectly simple,
straightforward, good girl.

ELLIE [rising, dignified but very angry]. Do you mean you don't
believe me?

MRS HUSHABYE. Of course I don't believe you. You're inventing
every word of it. Do you take me for a fool?

Ellie stares at her. Her candor is so obvious that Mrs Hushabye
is puzzled.

ELLIE. Goodbye, Hesione. I'm very sorry. I see now that it sounds
very improbable as I tell it. But I can't stay if you think that
way about me.

MRS HUSHABYE [catching her dress]. You shan't go. I couldn't be
so mistaken: I know too well what liars are like. Somebody has
really told you all this.

ELLIE [flushing]. Hesione, don't say that you don't believe him.
I couldn't bear that.

MRS HUSHABYE [soothing her]. Of course I believe him, dearest.
But you should have broken it to me by degrees. [Drawing her back
to her seat]. Now tell me all about him. Are you in love with

ELLIE. Oh, no. I'm not so foolish. I don't fall in love with
people. I'm not so silly as you think.

MRS HUSHABYE. I see. Only something to think about--to give some
interest and pleasure to life.

ELLIE. Just so. That's all, really.

MRS HUSHABYE. It makes the hours go fast, doesn't it? No tedious
waiting to go to sleep at nights and wondering whether you will
have a bad night. How delightful it makes waking up in the
morning! How much better than the happiest dream! All life
transfigured! No more wishing one had an interesting book to
read, because life is so much happier than any book! No desire
but to be alone and not to have to talk to anyone: to be alone
and just think about it.

ELLIE [embracing her]. Hesione, you are a witch. How do you know?
Oh, you are the most sympathetic woman in the world!

MRS HUSHABYE [caressing her]. Pettikins, my pettikins, how I envy
you! and how I pity you!

ELLIE. Pity me! Oh, why?

A very handsome man of fifty, with mousquetaire moustaches,
wearing a rather dandified curly brimmed hat, and carrying an
elaborate walking-stick, comes into the room from the hall, and
stops short at sight of the women on the sofa.

ELLIE [seeing him and rising in glad surprise]. Oh! Hesione: this
is Mr Marcus Darnley.

MRS HUSHABYE [rising]. What a lark! He is my husband.

ELLIE. But now--[she stops suddenly: then turns pale and sways].

MRS HUSHABYE [catching her and sitting down with her on the
sofa]. Steady, my pettikins.

THE MAN [with a mixture of confusion and effrontery, depositing
his hat and stick on the teak table]. My real name, Miss Dunn, is
Hector Hushabye. I leave you to judge whether that is a name any
sensitive man would care to confess to. I never use it when I can
possibly help it. I have been away for nearly a month; and I had
no idea you knew my wife, or that you were coming here. I am none
the less delighted to find you in our little house.

ELLIE [in great distress]. I don't know what to do. Please, may I
speak to papa? Do leave me. I can't bear it.

MRS HUSHABYE. Be off, Hector.


MRS HUSHABYE. Quick, quick. Get out.

HECTOR. If you think it better--[he goes out, taking his hat with
him but leaving the stick on the table].

MRS HUSHABYE [laying Ellie down at the end of the sofa]. Now,
pettikins, he is gone. There's nobody but me. You can let
yourself go. Don't try to control yourself. Have a good cry.

ELLIE [raising her head]. Damn!

MRS HUSHABYE. Splendid! Oh, what a relief! I thought you were
going to be broken-hearted. Never mind me. Damn him again.

ELLIE. I am not damning him. I am damning myself for being such a
fool. [Rising]. How could I let myself be taken in so? [She
begins prowling to and fro, her bloom gone, looking curiously
older and harder].

MRS HUSHABYE [cheerfully]. Why not, pettikins? Very few young
women can resist Hector. I couldn't when I was your age. He is
really rather splendid, you know.

ELLIE [turning on her]. Splendid! Yes, splendid looking, of
course. But how can you love a liar?

MRS HUSHABYE. I don't know. But you can, fortunately. Otherwise
there wouldn't be much love in the world.

ELLIE. But to lie like that! To be a boaster! a coward!

MRS HUSHABYE [rising in alarm]. Pettikins, none of that, if you
please. If you hint the slightest doubt of Hector's courage, he
will go straight off and do the most horribly dangerous things to
convince himself that he isn't a coward. He has a dreadful trick
of getting out of one third-floor window and coming in at
another, just to test his nerve. He has a whole drawerful of
Albert Medals for saving people's lives.

ELLIE. He never told me that.

MRS HUSHABYE. He never boasts of anything he really did: he can't
bear it; and it makes him shy if anyone else does. All his
stories are made-up stories.

ELLIE [coming to her]. Do you mean that he is really brave, and
really has adventures, and yet tells lies about things that he
never did and that never happened?

MRS HUSHABYE. Yes, pettikins, I do. People don't have their
virtues and vices in sets: they have them anyhow: all mixed.

ELLIE [staring at her thoughtfully]. There's something odd about
this house, Hesione, and even about you. I don't know why I'm
talking to you so calmly. I have a horrible fear that my heart is
broken, but that heartbreak is not like what I thought it must

MRS HUSHABYE [fondling her]. It's only life educating you,
pettikins. How do you feel about Boss Mangan now?

ELLIE [disengaging herself with an expression of distaste]. Oh,
how can you remind me of him, Hesione?

MRS HUSHABYE. Sorry, dear. I think I hear Hector coming back. You
don't mind now, do you, dear?

ELLIE. Not in the least. I am quite cured.

Mazzini Dunn and Hector come in from the hall.

HECTOR [as he opens the door and allows Mazzini to pass in]. One
second more, and she would have been a dead woman!

MAZZINI. Dear! dear! what an escape! Ellie, my love, Mr Hushabye
has just been telling me the most extraordinary--

ELLIE. Yes, I've heard it [she crosses to the other side of the

HECTOR [following her]. Not this one: I'll tell it to you after
dinner. I think you'll like it. The truth is I made it up for
you, and was looking forward to the pleasure of telling it to
you. But in a moment of impatience at being turned out of the
room, I threw it away on your father.

ELLIE [turning at bay with her back to the carpenter's bench,
scornfully self-possessed]. It was not thrown away. He believes
it. I should not have believed it.

MAZZINI [benevolently]. Ellie is very naughty, Mr Hushabye. Of
course she does not really think that. [He goes to the
bookshelves, and inspects the titles of the volumes].

Boss Mangan comes in from the hall, followed by the captain.
Mangan, carefully frock-coated as for church or for a diHECTORs'
meeting, is about fifty-five, with a careworn, mistrustful
expression, standing a little on an entirely imaginary dignity,
with a dull complexion, straight, lustreless hair, and features
so entirely commonplace that it is impossible to describe them.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [to Mrs Hushabye, introducing the newcomer].
Says his name is Mangan. Not able-bodied.

MRS HUSHABYE [graciously]. How do you do, Mr Mangan?

MANGAN [shaking hands]. Very pleased.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Dunn's lost his muscle, but recovered his
nerve. Men seldom do after three attacks of delirium tremens [he
goes into the pantry].

MRS HUSHABYE. I congratulate you, Mr Dunn.

MAZZINI [dazed]. I am a lifelong teetotaler.

MRS HUSHABYE. You will find it far less trouble to let papa have
his own way than try to explain.

MAZZINI. But three attacks of delirium tremens, really!

MRS HUSHABYE [to Mangan]. Do you know my husband, Mr Mangan [she
indicates Hector].

MANGAN [going to Hector, who meets him with outstretched hand].
Very pleased. [Turning to Ellie]. I hope, Miss Ellie, you have
not found the journey down too fatiguing. [They shake hands].

MRS HUSHABYE. Hector, show Mr Dunn his room.

HECTOR. Certainly. Come along, Mr Dunn. [He takes Mazzini out].

ELLIE. You haven't shown me my room yet, Hesione.

MRS HUSHABYE. How stupid of me! Come along. Make yourself quite
at home, Mr Mangan. Papa will entertain you. [She calls to the
captain in the pantry]. Papa, come and explain the house to Mr

She goes out with Ellie. The captain comes from the pantry.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You're going to marry Dunn's daughter. Don't.
You're too old.

MANGAN [staggered]. Well! That's fairly blunt, Captain.


MANGAN. She doesn't think so.


MANGAN. Older men than I have--

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [finishing the sentence for him].--made fools of
themselves. That, also, is true.

MANGAN [asserting himself]. I don't see that this is any business
of yours.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. It is everybody's business. The stars in their
courses are shaken when such things happen.

MANGAN. I'm going to marry her all the same.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. How do you know?

MANGAN [playing the strong man]. I intend to. I mean to. See? I
never made up my mind to do a thing yet that I didn't bring it
off. That's the sort of man I am; and there will be a better
understanding between us when you make up your mind to that,

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You frequent picture palaces.

MANGAN. Perhaps I do. Who told you?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Talk like a man, not like a movie. You mean
that you make a hundred thousand a year.

MANGAN. I don't boast. But when I meet a man that makes a hundred
thousand a year, I take off my hat to that man, and stretch out
my hand to him and call him brother.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Then you also make a hundred thousand a year,

MANGAN. No. I can't say that. Fifty thousand, perhaps.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. His half brother only [he turns away from
Mangan with his usual abruptness, and collects the empty tea-cups
on the Chinese tray].

MANGAN [irritated]. See here, Captain Shotover. I don't quite
understand my position here. I came here on your daughter's
invitation. Am I in her house or in yours?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You are beneath the dome of heaven, in the
house of God. What is true within these walls is true outside
them. Go out on the seas; climb the mountains; wander through the
valleys. She is still too young.

MANGAN [weakening]. But I'm very little over fifty.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You are still less under sixty. Boss Mangan,
you will not marry the pirate's child [he carries the tray away
into the pantry].

MANGAN [following him to the half door]. What pirate's child?
What are you talking about?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [in the pantry]. Ellie Dunn. You will not marry

MANGAN. Who will stop me?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [emerging]. My daughter [he makes for the door
leading to the hall].

MANGAN [following him]. Mrs Hushabye! Do you mean to say she
brought me down here to break it off?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [stopping and turning on him]. I know nothing
more than I have seen in her eye. She will break it off. Take my
advice: marry a West Indian negress: they make excellent wives. I
was married to one myself for two years.

MANGAN. Well, I am damned!

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I thought so. I was, too, for many years. The
negress redeemed me.

MANGAN [feebly]. This is queer. I ought to walk out of this


MANGAN. Well, many men would be offended by your style of

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Nonsense! It's the other sort of talking that
makes quarrels. Nobody ever quarrels with me.

A gentleman, whose first-rate tailoring and frictionless manners
proclaim the wellbred West Ender, comes in from the hall. He has
an engaging air of being young and unmarried, but on close
inspection is found to be at least over forty.

THE GENTLEMAN. Excuse my intruding in this fashion, but there is
no knocker on the door and the bell does not seem to ring.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Why should there be a knocker? Why should the
bell ring? The door is open.

THE GENTLEMAN. Precisely. So I ventured to come in.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Quite right. I will see about a room for you
[he makes for the door].

THE GENTLEMAN [stopping him]. But I'm afraid you don't know who I

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. DO you suppose that at my age I make
distinctions between one fellow creature and another? [He goes
out. Mangan and the newcomer stare at one another].

MANGAN. Strange character, Captain Shotover, sir.


CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [shouting outside]. Hesione, another person has
arrived and wants a room. Man about town, well dressed, fifty.

THE GENTLEMAN. Fancy Hesione's feelings! May I ask are you a
member of the family?


THE GENTLEMAN. I am. At least a connection.

Mrs Hushabye comes back.

MRS HUSHABYE. How do you do? How good of you to come!

THE GENTLEMAN. I am very glad indeed to make your acquaintance,
Hesione. [Instead of taking her hand he kisses her. At the same
moment the captain appears in the doorway]. You will excuse my
kissing your daughter, Captain, when I tell you that--

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Stuff! Everyone kisses my daughter. Kiss her as
much as you like [he makes for the pantry].

THE GENTLEMAN. Thank you. One moment, Captain. [The captain halts
and turns. The gentleman goes to him affably]. Do you happen to
remember but probably you don't, as it occurred many years ago--
that your younger daughter married a numskull?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Yes. She said she'd marry anybody to get away
from this house. I should not have recognized you: your head is
no longer like a walnut. Your aspect is softened. You have been
boiled in bread and milk for years and years, like other married
men. Poor devil! [He disappears into the pantry].

MRS HUSHABYE [going past Mangan to the gentleman and scrutinizing
him]. I don't believe you are Hastings Utterword.


MRS HUSHABYE. Then what business had you to kiss me?

THE GENTLEMAN. I thought I would like to. The fact is, I am
Randall Utterword, the unworthy younger brother of Hastings. I
was abroad diplomatizing when he was married.

LADY UTTERWORD [dashing in]. Hesione, where is the key of the
wardrobe in my room? My diamonds are in my dressing-bag: I must
lock it up--[recognizing the stranger with a shock] Randall, how
dare you? [She marches at him past Mrs Hushabye, who retreats and
joins Mangan near the sofa].

RANDALL. How dare I what? I am not doing anything.

LADY UTTERWORD. Who told you I was here?

RANDALL. Hastings. You had just left when I called on you at
Claridge's; so I followed you down here. You are looking
extremely well.

LADY UTTERWORD. Don't presume to tell me so.

MRS HUSHABYE. What is wrong with Mr Randall, Addy?

LADY UTTERWORD [recollecting herself]. Oh, nothing. But he has no
right to come bothering you and papa without being invited [she
goes to the window-seat and sits down, turning away from them
ill-humoredly and looking into the garden, where Hector and Ellie
are now seen strolling together].

MRS HUSHABYE. I think you have not met Mr Mangan, Addy.

LADY UTTERWORD [turning her head and nodding coldly to Mangan]. I
beg your pardon. Randall, you have flustered me so: I make a
perfect fool of myself.

MRS HUSHABYE. Lady Utterword. My sister. My younger sister.

MANGAN [bowing]. Pleased to meet you, Lady Utterword.

LADY UTTERWORD [with marked interest]. Who is that gentleman
walking in the garden with Miss Dunn?

MRS HUSHABYE. I don't know. She quarrelled mortally with my
husband only ten minutes ago; and I didn't know anyone else had
come. It must be a visitor. [She goes to the window to look]. Oh,
it is Hector. They've made it up.

LADY UTTERWORD. Your husband! That handsome man?

MRS HUSHABYE. Well, why shouldn't my husband be a handsome man?

RANDALL [joining them at the window]. One's husband never is,
Ariadne [he sits by Lady Utterword, on her right].

MRS HUSHABYE. One's sister's husband always is, Mr Randall.

LADY UTTERWORD. Don't be vulgar, Randall. And you, Hesione, are
just as bad.

Ellie and Hector come in from the garden by the starboard door.
Randall rises. Ellie retires into the corner near the pantry.
Hector comes forward; and Lady Utterword rises looking her very

MRS. HUSHABYE. Hector, this is Addy.

HECTOR [apparently surprised]. Not this lady.

LADY UTTERWORD [smiling]. Why not?

HECTOR [looking at her with a piercing glance of deep but
respectful admiration, his moustache bristling]. I thought--
[pulling himself together]. I beg your pardon, Lady Utterword. I
am extremely glad to welcome you at last under our roof [he
offers his hand with grave courtesy].

MRS HUSHABYE. She wants to be kissed, Hector.

LADY UTTERWORD. Hesione! [But she still smiles].

MRS HUSHABYE. Call her Addy; and kiss her like a good
brother-in-law; and have done with it. [She leaves them to

HECTOR. Behave yourself, Hesione. Lady Utterword is entitled not
only to hospitality but to civilization.

LADY UTTERWORD [gratefully]. Thank you, Hector. [They shake hands

Mazzini Dunn is seen crossing the garden from starboard to port.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [coming from the pantry and addressing Ellie].
Your father has washed himself.

ELLIE [quite self-possessed]. He often does, Captain Shotover.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. A strange conversion! I saw him through the
pantry window.

Mazzini Dunn enters through the port window door, newly washed
and brushed, and stops, smiling benevolently, between Mangan and
Mrs Hushabye.

MRS HUSHABYE [introducing]. Mr Mazzini Dunn, Lady Ut--oh, I
forgot: you've met. [Indicating Ellie] Miss Dunn.

MAZZINI [walking across the room to take Ellie's hand, and
beaming at his own naughty irony]. I have met Miss Dunn also. She
is my daughter. [He draws her arm through his caressingly].

MRS HUSHABYE. Of course: how stupid! Mr Utterword, my sister's--

RANDALL [shaking hands agreeably]. Her brother-in-law, Mr Dunn.
How do you do?

MRS HUSHABYE. This is my husband.

HECTOR. We have met, dear. Don't introduce us any more. [He moves
away to the big chair, and adds] Won't you sit down, Lady
Utterword? [She does so very graciously].

MRS HUSHABYE. Sorry. I hate it: it's like making people show
their tickets.

MAZZINI [sententiously]. How little it tells us, after all! The
great question is, not who we are, but what we are.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Ha! What are you?

MAZZINI [taken aback]. What am I?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. A thief, a pirate, and a murderer.

MAZZINI. I assure you you are mistaken.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. An adventurous life; but what does it end in?
Respectability. A ladylike daughter. The language and appearance
of a city missionary. Let it be a warning to all of you [he goes
out through the garden].

DUNN. I hope nobody here believes that I am a thief, a pirate, or
a murderer. Mrs Hushabye, will you excuse me a moment? I must
really go and explain. [He follows the captain].

MRS HUSHABYE [as he goes]. It's no use. You'd really better--
[but Dunn has vanished]. We had better all go out and look for
some tea. We never have regular tea; but you can always get some
when you want: the servants keep it stewing all day. The kitchen
veranda is the best place to ask. May I show you? [She goes to
the starboard door].

RANDALL [going with her]. Thank you, I don't think I'll take any
tea this afternoon. But if you will show me the garden--

MRS HUSHABYE. There's nothing to see in the garden except papa's
observatory, and a gravel pit with a cave where he keeps dynamite
and things of that sort. However, it's pleasanter out of doors;
so come along.

RANDALL. Dynamite! Isn't that rather risky?

MRS HUSHABYE. Well, we don't sit in the gravel pit when there's a

LADY UTTERORRD. That's something new. What is the dynamite for?

HECTOR. To blow up the human race if it goes too far. He is
trying to discover a psychic ray that will explode all the
explosive at the well of a Mahatma.

ELLIE. The captain's tea is delicious, Mr Utterword.

MRS HUSHABYE [stopping in the doorway]. Do you mean to say that
you've had some of my father's tea? that you got round him before
you were ten minutes in the house?

ELLIE. I did.

MRS HUSHABYE. You little devil! [She goes out with Randall].

MANGAN. Won't you come, Miss Ellie?

ELLIE. I'm too tired. I'll take a book up to my room and rest a
little. [She goes to the bookshelf].

MANGAN. Right. You can't do better. But I'm disappointed. [He
follows Randall and Mrs Hushabye].

Ellie, Hector, and Lady Utterword are left. Hector is close to
Lady Utterword. They look at Ellie, waiting for her to go.

ELLIE [looking at the title of a book]. Do you like stories of
adventure, Lady Utterword?

LADY UTTERWORD [patronizingly]. Of course, dear.

ELLIE. Then I'll leave you to Mr Hushabye. [She goes out through
the hall].

HECTOR. That girl is mad about tales of adventure. The lies I
have to tell her!

LADY UTTERWORD [not interested in Ellie]. When you saw me what
did you mean by saying that you thought, and then stopping short?
What did you think?

HECTOR [folding his arms and looking down at her magnetically].
May I tell you?


HECTOR. It will not sound very civil. I was on the point of
saying, "I thought you were a plain woman."

LADY UTTERWORD. Oh, for shame, Hector! What right had you to
notice whether I am plain or not?

HECTOR. Listen to me, Ariadne. Until today I have seen only
photographs of you; and no photograph can give the strange
fascination of the daughters of that supernatural old man. There
is some damnable quality in them that destroys men's moral sense,
and carries them beyond honor and dishonor. You know that, don't

LADY UTTERWORD. Perhaps I do, Hector. But let me warn you once
for all that I am a rigidly conventional woman. You may think
because I'm a Shotover that I'm a Bohemian, because we are all so
horribly Bohemian. But I'm not. I hate and loathe Bohemianism. No
child brought up in a strict Puritan household ever suffered from
Puritanism as I suffered from our Bohemianism.

HECTOR. Our children are like that. They spend their holidays in
the houses of their respectable schoolfellows.

LADY UTTERWORD. I shall invite them for Christmas.

HECTOR. Their absence leaves us both without our natural

LADY UTTERWORD. Children are certainly very inconvenient
sometimes. But intelligent people can always manage, unless they
are Bohemians.

HECTOR. You are no Bohemian; but you are no Puritan either: your
attraction is alive and powerful. What sort of woman do you count

LADY UTTERWORD. I am a woman of the world, Hector; and I can
assure you that if you will only take the trouble always to do
the perfectly correct thing, and to say the perfectly correct
thing, you can do just what you like. An ill-conducted, careless
woman gets simply no chance. An ill-conducted, careless man is
never allowed within arm's length of any woman worth knowing.

HECTOR. I see. You are neither a Bohemian woman nor a Puritan
woman. You are a dangerous woman.

LADY UTTERWORD. On the contrary, I am a safe woman.

HECTOR. You are a most accursedly attractive woman. Mind, I am
not making love to you. I do not like being attracted. But you
had better know how I feel if you are going to stay here.

LADY UTTERWORD. You are an exceedingly clever lady-killer,
Hector. And terribly handsome. I am quite a good player, myself,
at that game. Is it quite understood that we are only playing?

HECTOR. Quite. I am deliberately playing the fool, out of sheer

LADY UTTERWORD [rising brightly]. Well, you are my
brother-in-law, Hesione asked you to kiss me. [He seizes her in
his arms and kisses her strenuously]. Oh! that was a little more
than play, brother-in-law. [She pushes him suddenly away]. You
shall not do that again.

HECTOR. In effect, you got your claws deeper into me than I

MRS HUBHABYE [coming in from the garden]. Don't let me disturb
you; I only want a cap to put on daddiest. The sun is setting;
and he'll catch cold [she makes for the door leading to the

LADY UTTERWORD. Your husband is quite charming, darling. He has
actually condescended to kiss me at last. I shall go into the
garden: it's cooler now [she goes out by the port door].

MRS HUSHABYE. Take care, dear child. I don't believe any man can
kiss Addy without falling in love with her. [She goes into the

HECTOR [striking himself on the chest]. Fool! Goat!

Mrs Hushabye comes back with the captain's cap.

HECTOR. Your sister is an extremely enterprising old girl.
Where's Miss Dunn!

MRS HUSHABYE. Mangan says she has gone up to her room for a nap.
Addy won't let you talk to Ellie: she has marked you for her own.

HECTOR. She has the diabolical family fascination. I began making
love to her automatically. What am I to do? I can't fall in love;
and I can't hurt a woman's feelings by telling her so when she
falls in love with me. And as women are always falling in love
with my moustache I get landed in all sorts of tedious and
terrifying flirtations in which I'm not a bit in earnest.

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, neither is Addy. She has never been in love in
her life, though she has always been trying to fall in head over
ears. She is worse than you, because you had one real go at
least, with me.

HECTOR. That was a confounded madness. I can't believe that such
an amazing experience is common. It has left its mark on me. I
believe that is why I have never been able to repeat it.

MRS HUSHABYE [laughing and caressing his arm]. We were
frightfully in love with one another, Hector. It was such an
enchanting dream that I have never been able to grudge it to you
or anyone else since. I have invited all sorts of pretty women to
the house on the chance of giving you another turn. But it has
never come off.

HECTOR. I don't know that I want it to come off. It was damned
dangerous. You fascinated me; but I loved you; so it was heaven.
This sister of yours fascinates me; but I hate her; so it is
hell. I shall kill her if she persists.

MRS. HUSHABYE. Nothing will kill Addy; she is as strong as a
horse. [Releasing him]. Now I am going off to fascinate somebody.

HECTOR. The Foreign Office toff? Randall?

MRS HUSHABYE. Goodness gracious, no! Why should I fascinate him?

HECTOR. I presume you don't mean the bloated capitalist, Mangan?

MRS HUSHABYE. Hm! I think he had better be fascinated by me than
by Ellie. [She is going into the garden when the captain comes in
from it with some sticks in his hand]. What have you got there,


MRS HUSHABYE. You've been to the gravel pit. Don't drop it about
the house, there's a dear. [She goes into the garden, where the
evening light is now very red].

HECTOR. Listen, O sage. How long dare you concentrate on a
feeling without risking having it fixed in your consciousness all
the rest of your life?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Ninety minutes. An hour and a half. [He goes
into the pantry].

Hector, left alone, contracts his brows, and falls into a
day-dream. He does not move for some time. Then he folds his
arms. Then, throwing his hands behind him, and gripping one with
the other, he strides tragically once to and fro. Suddenly he
snatches his walking stick from the teak table, and draws it; for
it is a swordstick. He fights a desperate duel with an imaginary
antagonist, and after many vicissitudes runs him through the body
up to the hilt. He sheathes his sword and throws it on the sofa,
falling into another reverie as he does so. He looks straight
into the eyes of an imaginary woman; seizes her by the arms; and
says in a deep and thrilling tone, "Do you love me!" The captain
comes out of the pantry at this moment; and Hector, caught with
his arms stretched out and his fists clenched, has to account for
his attitude by going through a series of gymnastic exercises.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. That sort of strength is no good. You will
never be as strong as a gorilla.

HECTOR. What is the dynamite for?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. To kill fellows like Mangan.

HECTOR. No use. They will always be able to buy more dynamite
than you.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I will make a dynamite that he cannot explode.

HECTOR. And that you can, eh?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Yes: when I have attained the seventh degree of

HECTOR. What's the use of that? You never do attain it.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. What then is to be done? Are we to be kept
forever in the mud by these hogs to whom the universe is nothing
but a machine for greasing their bristles and filling their

HECTOR. Are Mangan's bristles worse than Randall's lovelocks?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER,. We must win powers of life and death over them
both. I refuse to die until I have invented the means.

HECTOR. Who are we that we should judge them?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. What are they that they should judge us? Yet
they do, unhesitatingly. There is enmity between our seed and
their seed. They know it and act on it, strangling our souls.
They believe in themselves. When we believe in ourselves, we
shall kill them.

HECTOR. It is the same seed. You forget that your pirate has a
very nice daughter. Mangan's son may be a Plato: Randall's a
Shelley. What was my father?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. The damnedst scoundrel I ever met. [He replaces
the drawing-board; sits down at the table; and begins to mix a
wash of color].

HECTOR. Precisely. Well, dare you kill his innocent

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. They are mine also.

HECTOR. Just so--we are members one of another. [He throws
himself carelessly on the sofa]. I tell you I have often thought
of this killing of human vermin. Many men have thought of it.
Decent men are like Daniel in the lion's den: their survival is a
miracle; and they do not always survive. We live among the
Mangans and Randalls and Billie Dunns as they, poor devils, live
among the disease germs and the doctors and the lawyers and the
parsons and the restaurant chefs and the tradesmen and the
servants and all the rest of the parasites and blackmailers. What
are our terrors to theirs? Give me the power to kill them; and
I'll spare them in sheer--

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [cutting in sharply]. Fellow feeling?

HECTOR. No. I should kill myself if I believed that. I must
believe that my spark, small as it is, is divine, and that the
red light over their door is hell fire. I should spare them in
simple magnanimous pity.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You can't spare them until you have the power
to kill them. At present they have the power to kill you. There
are millions of blacks over the water for them to train and let
loose on us. They're going to do it. They're doing it already.

HECTOR. They are too stupid to use their power.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [throwing down his brush and coming to the end
of the sofa]. Do not deceive yourself: they do use it. We kill
the better half of ourselves every day to propitiate them. The
knowledge that these people are there to render all our
aspirations barren prevents us having the aspirations. And when
we are tempted to seek their destruction they bring forth demons
to delude us, disguised as pretty daughters, and singers and
poets and the like, for whose sake we spare them.

HECTOR [sitting up and leaning towards him]. May not Hesione be
such a demon, brought forth by you lest I should slay you?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. That is possible. She has used you up, and left
you nothing but dreams, as some women do.

HECTOR. Vampire women, demon women.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Men think the world well lost for them, and
lose it accordingly. Who are the men that do things? The husbands
of the shrew and of the drunkard, the men with the thorn in the
flesh. [Walking distractedly away towards the pantry]. I must
think these things out. [Turning suddenly]. But I go on with the
dynamite none the less. I will discover a ray mightier than any
X-ray: a mind ray that will explode the ammunition in the belt of
my adversary before he can point his gun at me. And I must hurry.
I am old: I have no time to waste in talk [he is about to go into
the pantry, and Hector is making for the hall, when Hesione comes

MRS HUSHABYE. Daddiest, you and Hector must come and help me to
entertain all these people. What on earth were you shouting

HECTOR [stopping in the act of turning the door handle]. He is
madder than usual.

MRS HUSHABYE. We all are.

HECTOR. I must change [he resumes his door opening].

MRS HUSHABYE. Stop, stop. Come back, both of you. Come back.
[They return, reluctantly]. Money is running short.

HECTOR. Money! Where are my April dividends?

MRS HUSHABYE. Where is the snow that fell last year?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Where is all the money you had for that patent
lifeboat I invented?

MRS HUSHABYE. Five hundred pounds; and I have made it last since

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Since Easter! Barely four months! Monstrous
extravagance! I could live for seven years on 500 pounds.

MRS HUSHABYE. Not keeping open house as we do here, daddiest.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Only 500 pounds for that lifeboat! I got twelve
thousand for the invention before that.

MRS HUSHABYE. Yes, dear; but that was for the ship with the
magnetic keel that sucked up submarines. Living at the rate we
do, you cannot afford life-saving inventions. Can't you think of
something that will murder half Europe at one bang?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. No. I am ageing fast. My mind does not dwell on
slaughter as it did when I was a boy. Why doesn't your husband
invent something? He does nothing but tell lies to women.

HECTOR. Well, that is a form of invention, is it not? However,
you are right: I ought to support my wife.

MRS HUSHABYE. Indeed you shall do nothing of the sort: I should
never see you from breakfast to dinner. I want my husband.

HECTOR [bitterly]. I might as well be your lapdog.

MRS HUSHABYE. Do you want to be my breadwinner, like the other
poor husbands?

HECTOR. No, by thunder! What a damned creature a husband is

MRS HUSHABYE [to the captain]. What about that harpoon cannon?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. No use. It kills whales, not men.

MRS HUSHABYE. Why not? You fire the harpoon out of a cannon. It
sticks in the enemy's general; you wind him in; and there you

HECTOR. You are your father's daughter, Hesione.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. There is something in it. Not to wind in
generals: they are not dangerous. But one could fire a grapnel
and wind in a machine gun or even a tank. I will think it out.

MRS HUSHABYE [squeezing the captain's arm affectionately]. Saved!
You are a darling, daddiest. Now we must go back to these
dreadful people and entertain them.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. They have had no dinner. Don't forget that.

HECTOR. Neither have I. And it is dark: it must be all hours.

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, Guinness will produce some sort of dinner for
them. The servants always take jolly good care that there is food
in the house.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [raising a strange wail in the darkness]. What a
house! What a daughter!

MRS HUSHABYE [raving]. What a father!

HECTOR [following suit]. What a husband!

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Is there no thunder in heaven?

HECTOR. Is there no beauty, no bravery, on earth?

MRS HUSHABYE. What do men want? They have their food, their
firesides, their clothes mended, and our love at the end of the
day. Why are they not satisfied? Why do they envy us the pain
with which we bring them into the world, and make strange dangers
and torments for themselves to be even with us?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [weirdly chanting].
I builded a house for my daughters, and opened the doors
That men might come for their choosing, and their betters
spring from their love;
But one of them married a numskull;

HECTOR [taking up the rhythm].
The other a liar wed;

MRS HUSHABYE [completing the stanza].
And now must she lie beside him, even as she made her bed.

LADY UTTERWORD [calling from the garden]. Hesione! Hesione! Where
are you?

HECTOR. The cat is on the tiles.

MRS HUSHABYE. Coming, darling, coming [she goes quickly into the

The captain goes back to his place at the table.

HECTOR [going out into the hall]. Shall I turn up the lights for

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. No. Give me deeper darkness. Money is not made
in the light.


The same room, with the lights turned up and the curtains drawn.
Ellie comes in, followed by Mangan. Both are dressed for dinner.
She strolls to the drawing-table. He comes between the table and
the wicker chair.

MANGAN. What a dinner! I don't call it a dinner: I call it a

ELLIE. I am accustomed to meals, Mr Mangan, and very lucky to get
them. Besides, the captain cooked some maccaroni for me.

MANGAN [shuddering liverishly]. Too rich: I can't eat such
things. I suppose it's because I have to work so much with my
brain. That's the worst of being a man of business: you are
always thinking, thinking, thinking. By the way, now that we are
alone, may I take the opportunity to come to a little
understanding with you?

ELLIE [settling into the draughtsman's seat]. Certainly. I should
like to.

MANGAN [taken aback]. Should you? That surprises me; for I
thought I noticed this afternoon that you avoided me all you
could. Not for the first time either.

ELLIE. I was very tired and upset. I wasn't used to the ways of
this extraordinary house. Please forgive me.

MANGAN. Oh, that's all right: I don't mind. But Captain Shotover
has been talking to me about you. You and me, you know.

ELLIE [interested]. The captain! What did he say?

MANGAN. Well, he noticed the difference between our ages.

ELLIE. He notices everything.

MANGAN. You don't mind, then?

ELLIE. Of course I know quite well that our engagement--

MANGAN. Oh! you call it an engagement.

ELLIE. Well, isn't it?

MANGAN. Oh, yes, yes: no doubt it is if you hold to it. This is
the first time you've used the word; and I didn't quite know
where we stood: that's all. [He sits down in the wicker chair;
and resigns himself to allow her to lead the conversation]. You
were saying--?

ELLIE. Was I? I forget. Tell me. Do you like this part of the
country? I heard you ask Mr Hushabye at dinner whether there are
any nice houses to let down here.

MANGAN. I like the place. The air suits me. I shouldn't be
surprised if I settled down here.

ELLIE. Nothing would please me better. The air suits me too. And
I want to be near Hesione.

MANGAN [with growing uneasiness]. The air may suit us; but the
question is, should we suit one another? Have you thought about

ELLIE. Mr Mangan, we must be sensible, mustn't we? It's no use
pretending that we are Romeo and Juliet. But we can get on very
well together if we choose to make the best of it. Your kindness
of heart will make it easy for me.

MANGAN [leaning forward, with the beginning of something like
deliberate unpleasantness in his voice]. Kindness of heart, eh? I
ruined your father, didn't I?

ELLIE. Oh, not intentionally.

MANGAN. Yes I did. Ruined him on purpose.

ELLIE. On purpose!

MANGAN. Not out of ill-nature, you know. And you'll admit that I
kept a job for him when I had finished with him. But business is
business; and I ruined him as a matter of business.

ELLIE. I don't understand how that can be. Are you trying to make
me feel that I need not be grateful to you, so that I may choose

MANGAN [rising aggressively]. No. I mean what I say.

ELLIE. But how could it possibly do you any good to ruin my
father? The money he lost was yours.

MANGAN [with a sour laugh]. Was mine! It is mine, Miss Ellie, and
all the money the other fellows lost too. [He shoves his hands
into his pockets and shows his teeth]. I just smoked them out
like a hive of bees. What do you say to that? A bit of shock, eh?

ELLIE. It would have been, this morning. Now! you can't think how
little it matters. But it's quite interesting. Only, you must
explain it to me. I don't understand it. [Propping her elbows on
the drawingboard and her chin on her hands, she composes herself
to listen with a combination of conscious curiosity with
unconscious contempt which provokes him to more and more
unpleasantness, and an attempt at patronage of her ignorance].

MANGAN. Of course you don't understand: what do you know about
business? You just listen and learn. Your father's business was a
new business; and I don't start new businesses: I let other
fellows start them. They put all their money and their friends'
money into starting them. They wear out their souls and bodies
trying to make a success of them. They're what you call
enthusiasts. But the first dead lift of the thing is too much for
them; and they haven't enough financial experience. In a year or
so they have either to let the whole show go bust, or sell out to
a new lot of fellows for a few deferred ordinary shares: that is,
if they're lucky enough to get anything at all. As likely as not
the very same thing happens to the new lot. They put in more
money and a couple of years' more work; and then perhaps they
have to sell out to a third lot. If it's really a big thing the
third lot will have to sell out too, and leave their work and
their money behind them. And that's where the real business man
comes in: where I come in. But I'm cleverer than some: I don't
mind dropping a little money to start the process. I took your
father's measure. I saw that he had a sound idea, and that he
would work himself silly for it if he got the chance. I saw that
he was a child in business, and was dead certain to outrun his
expenses and be in too great a hurry to wait for his market. I
knew that the surest way to ruin a man who doesn't know how to
handle money is to give him some. I explained my idea to some
friends in the city, and they found the money; for I take no
risks in ideas, even when they're my own. Your father and the
friends that ventured their money with him were no more to me
than a heap of squeezed lemons. You've been wasting your
gratitude: my kind heart is all rot. I'm sick of it. When I see
your father beaming at me with his moist, grateful eyes,
regularly wallowing in gratitude, I sometimes feel I must tell
him the truth or burst. What stops me is that I know he wouldn't
believe me. He'd think it was my modesty, as you did just now.
He'd think anything rather than the truth, which is that he's a
blamed fool, and I am a man that knows how to take care of
himself. [He throws himself back into the big chair with large
self approval]. Now what do you think of me, Miss Ellie?

ELLIE [dropping her hands]. How strange! that my mother, who knew
nothing at all about business, should have been quite right about
you! She always said not before papa, of course, but to us
children--that you were just that sort of man.

MANGAN [sitting up, much hurt]. Oh! did she? And yet she'd have
let you marry me.

ELLIE. Well, you see, Mr Mangan, my mother married a very good
man--for whatever you may think of my father as a man of
business, he is the soul of goodness--and she is not at all keen
on my doing the same.

MANGAN. Anyhow, you don't want to marry me now, do you?

ELLIE. [very calmly]. Oh, I think so. Why not?

MANGAN. [rising aghast]. Why not!

ELLIE. I don't see why we shouldn't get on very well together.

MANGAN. Well, but look here, you know--[he stops, quite at a

ELLIE. [patiently]. Well?

MANGAN. Well, I thought you were rather particular about people's

ELLIE. If we women were particular about men's characters, we
should never get married at all, Mr Mangan.

MANGAN. A child like you talking of "we women"! What next! You're
not in earnest?

ELLIE. Yes, I am. Aren't you?

MANGAN. You mean to hold me to it?

ELLIE. Do you wish to back out of it?

MANGAN. Oh, no. Not exactly back out of it.

ELLIE. Well?

He has nothing to say. With a long whispered whistle, he drops
into the wicker chair and stares before him like a beggared
gambler. But a cunning look soon comes into his face. He leans
over towards her on his right elbow, and speaks in a low steady

MANGAN. Suppose I told you I was in love with another woman!

ELLIE [echoing him]. Suppose I told you I was in love with
another man!

MANGAN [bouncing angrily out of his chair]. I'm not joking.

ELLIE. Who told you I was?

MANGAN. I tell you I'm serious. You're too young to be serious;
but you'll have to believe me. I want to be near your friend Mrs
Hushabye. I'm in love with her. Now the murder's out.

ELLIE. I want to be near your friend Mr Hushabye. I'm in love
with him. [She rises and adds with a frank air] Now we are in one
another's confidence, we shall be real friends. Thank you for
telling me.

MANGAN [almost beside himself]. Do you think I'll be made a
convenience of like this?

ELLIE. Come, Mr Mangan! you made a business convenience of my
father. Well, a woman's business is marriage. Why shouldn't I
make a domestic convenience of you?

MANGAN. Because I don't choose, see? Because I'm not a silly gull
like your father. That's why.

ELLIE [with serene contempt]. You are not good enough to clean my
father's boots, Mr Mangan; and I am paying you a great compliment
in condescending to make a convenience of you, as you call it. Of
course you are free to throw over our engagement if you like;
but, if you do, you'll never enter Hesione's house again: I will
take care of that.

MANGAN [gasping]. You little devil, you've done me. [On the point
of collapsing into the big chair again he recovers himself]. Wait
a bit, though: you're not so cute as you think. You can't beat
Boss Mangan as easy as that. Suppose I go straight to Mrs
Hushabye and tell her that you're in love with her husband.

ELLIE. She knows it.

MANGAN. You told her!!!

ELLIE. She told me.

MANGAN [clutching at his bursting temples]. Oh, this is a crazy
house. Or else I'm going clean off my chump. Is she making a swop
with you--she to have your husband and you to have hers?

ELLIE. Well, you don't want us both, do you?

MANGAN [throwing himself into the chair distractedly]. My brain
won't stand it. My head's going to split. Help! Help me to hold
it. Quick: hold it: squeeze it. Save me. [Ellie comes behind his
chair; clasps his head hard for a moment; then begins to draw her
hands from his forehead back to his ears]. Thank you. [Drowsily].
That's very refreshing. [Waking a little]. Don't you hypnotize
me, though. I've seen men made fools of by hypnotism.

ELLIE [steadily]. Be quiet. I've seen men made fools of without

MANGAN [humbly]. You don't dislike touching me, I hope. You never
touched me before, I noticed.

ELLIE. Not since you fell in love naturally with a grown-up nice
woman, who will never expect you to make love to her. And I will
never expect him to make love to me.

MANGAN. He may, though.

ELLIE [making her passes rhythmically]. Hush. Go to sleep. Do you
hear? You are to go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep; be quiet,
deeply deeply quiet; sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.

He falls asleep. Ellie steals away; turns the light out; and goes
into the garden.

Nurse Guinness opens the door and is seen in the light which
comes in from the hall.

GUINNESS [speaking to someone outside]. Mr Mangan's not here,
duckie: there's no one here. It's all dark.

MRS HUSHABYE [without]. Try the garden. Mr Dunn and I will be in
my boudoir. Show him the way.

GUINNESS. Yes, ducky. [She makes for the garden door in the dark;
stumbles over the sleeping Mangan and screams]. Ahoo! O Lord,
Sir! I beg your pardon, I'm sure: I didn't see you in the dark.
Who is it? [She goes back to the door and turns on the light].
Oh, Mr Mangan, sir, I hope I haven't hurt you plumping into your
lap like that. [Coming to him]. I was looking for you, sir. Mrs
Hushabye says will you please [noticing that he remains quite
insensible]. Oh, my good Lord, I hope I haven't killed him. Sir!
Mr Mangan! Sir! [She shakes him; and he is rolling inertly off
the chair on the floor when she holds him up and props him
against the cushion]. Miss Hessy! Miss Hessy! [quick, doty
darling. Miss Hessy! [Mrs Hushabye comes in from the hall,
followed by Mazzini Dunn]. Oh, Miss Hessy, I've been and killed

Mazzini runs round the back of the chair to Mangan's right hand,
and sees that the nurse's words are apparently only too true.

MAZZINI. What tempted you to commit such a crime, woman?

MRS HUSHABYE [trying not to laugh]. Do you mean, you did it on

GUINNESS. Now is it likely I'd kill any man on purpose? I fell
over him in the dark; and I'm a pretty tidy weight. He never
spoke nor moved until I shook him; and then he would have dropped
dead on the floor. Isn't it tiresome?

MRS HUSHABYE [going past the nurse to Mangan's side, and
inspecting him less credulously than Mazzini]. Nonsense! he is
not dead: he is only asleep. I can see him breathing.

GUINNESS. But why won't he wake?

MAZZINI [speaking very politely into Mangan's ear]. Mangan! My
dear Mangan! [he blows into Mangan's ear].

MRS HUSHABYE. That's no good [she shakes him vigorously]. Mr
Mangan, wake up. Do you hear? [He begins to roll over]. Oh!
Nurse, nurse: he's falling: help me.

Nurse Guinness rushes to the rescue. With Mazzini's assistance,
Mangan is propped safely up again.

GUINNESS [behind the chair; bending over to test the case with
her nose]. Would he be drunk, do you think, pet?

MRS HUSHABYE. Had he any of papa's rum?

MAZZINI. It can't be that: he is most abstemious. I am afraid he
drank too much formerly, and has to drink too little now. You
know, Mrs Hushabye, I really think he has been hypnotized.

GUINNESS. Hip no what, sir?

MAZZINI. One evening at home, after we had seen a hypnotizing
performance, the children began playing at it; and Ellie stroked
my head. I assure you I went off dead asleep; and they had to
send for a professional to wake me up after I had slept eighteen
hours. They had to carry me upstairs; and as the poor children
were not very strong, they let me slip; and I rolled right down
the whole flight and never woke up. [Mrs Hushabye splutters]. Oh,
you may laugh, Mrs Hushabye; but I might have been killed.

MRS HUSHABYE. I couldn't have helped laughing even if you had
been, Mr Dunn. So Ellie has hypnotized him. What fun!

MAZZINI. Oh no, no, no. It was such a terrible lesson to her:
nothing would induce her to try such a thing again.

MRS HUSHABYE. Then who did it? I didn't.

MAZZINI. I thought perhaps the captain might have done it
unintentionally. He is so fearfully magnetic: I feel vibrations
whenever he comes close to me.

GUINNESS. The captain will get him out of it anyhow, sir: I'll
back him for that. I'll go fetch him [she makes for the pantry].

MRS HUSHABYE. Wait a bit. [To Mazzini]. You say he is all right
for eighteen hours?

MAZZINI. Well, I was asleep for eighteen hours.

MRS HUSHABYE. Were you any the worse for it?

MAZZINI. I don't quite remember. They had poured brandy down my
throat, you see; and--

MRS HUSHABYE. Quite. Anyhow, you survived. Nurse, darling: go and
ask Miss Dunn to come to us here. Say I want to speak to her
particularly. You will find her with Mr Hushabye probably.

GUINNESS. I think not, ducky: Miss Addy is with him. But I'll
find her and send her to you. [She goes out into the garden].

MRS HUSHABYE [calling Mazzini's attention to the figure on the
chair]. Now, Mr Dunn, look. Just look. Look hard. Do you still
intend to sacrifice your daughter to that thing?

MAZZINI [troubled]. You have completely upset me, Mrs Hushabye,
by all you have said to me. That anyone could imagine that I--I,
a consecrated soldier of freedom, if I may say so--could
sacrifice Ellie to anybody or anyone, or that I should ever have
dreamed of forcing her inclinations in any way, is a most painful
blow to my--well, I suppose you would say to my good opinion of

MRS HUSHABYE [rather stolidly]. Sorry.

MAZZINI [looking forlornly at the body]. What is your objection
to poor Mangan, Mrs Hushabye? He looks all right to me. But then
I am so accustomed to him.

MRS HUSHABYE. Have you no heart? Have you no sense? Look at the
brute! Think of poor weak innocent Ellie in the clutches of this
slavedriver, who spends his life making thousands of rough
violent workmen bend to his will and sweat for him: a man
accustomed to have great masses of iron beaten into shape for him
by steam-hammers! to fight with women and girls over a halfpenny
an hour ruthlessly! a captain of industry, I think you call him,
don't you? Are you going to fling your delicate, sweet, helpless
child into such a beast's claws just because he will keep her in
an expensive house and make her wear diamonds to show how rich he

MAZZINI [staring at her in wide-eyed amazement]. Bless you, dear
Mrs Hushabye, what romantic ideas of business you have! Poor dear
Mangan isn't a bit like that.

MRS HUSHABYE [scornfully]. Poor dear Mangan indeed!

MAZZINI. But he doesn't know anything about machinery. He never
goes near the men: he couldn't manage them: he is afraid of them.
I never can get him to take the least interest in the works: he
hardly knows more about them than you do. People are cruelly
unjust to Mangan: they think he is all rugged strength just
because his manners are bad.

MRS HUSHABYE. Do you mean to tell me he isn't strong enough to
crush poor little Ellie?

MAZZINI. Of course it's very hard to say how any marriage will
turn out; but speaking for myself, I should say that he won't
have a dog's chance against Ellie. You know, Ellie has remarkable
strength of character. I think it is because I taught her to like
Shakespeare when she was very young.

MRS HUSHABYE [contemptuously]. Shakespeare! The next thing you
will tell me is that you could have made a great deal more money
than Mangan. [She retires to the sofa, and sits down at the port
end of it in the worst of humors].

MAZZINI [following her and taking the other end]. No: I'm no good
at making money. I don't care enough for it, somehow. I'm not
ambitious! that must be it. Mangan is wonderful about money: he
thinks of nothing else. He is so dreadfully afraid of being poor.
I am always thinking of other things: even at the works I think
of the things we are doing and not of what they cost. And the
worst of it is, poor Mangan doesn't know what to do with his
money when he gets it. He is such a baby that he doesn't know
even what to eat and drink: he has ruined his liver eating and
drinking the wrong things; and now he can hardly eat at all.
Ellie will diet him splendidly. You will be surprised when you
come to know him better: he is really the most helpless of
mortals. You get quite a protective feeling towards him.

MRS HUSHABYE. Then who manages his business, pray?

MAZZINI. I do. And of course other people like me.

MRS HUSHABYE. Footling people, you mean.

MAZZINI. I suppose you'd think us so.

MRS HUSHABYE. And pray why don't you do without him if you're all
so much cleverer?

MAZZINI. Oh, we couldn't: we should ruin the business in a year.
I've tried; and I know. We should spend too much on everything.
We should improve the quality of the goods and make them too
dear. We should be sentimental about the hard cases among the
work people. But Mangan keeps us in order. He is down on us about
every extra halfpenny. We could never do without him. You see, he
will sit up all night thinking of how to save sixpence. Won't
Ellie make him jump, though, when she takes his house in hand!

MRS HUSHABYE. Then the creature is a fraud even as a captain of

MAZZINI. I am afraid all the captains of industry are what you
call frauds, Mrs Hushabye. Of course there are some manufacturers
who really do understand their own works; but they don't make as
high a rate of profit as Mangan does. I assure you Mangan is
quite a good fellow in his way. He means well.

MRS HUSHABYE. He doesn't look well. He is not in his first youth,
is he?

MAZZINI. After all, no husband is in his first youth for very
long, Mrs Hushabye. And men can't afford to marry in their first
youth nowadays.

MRS HUSHABYE. Now if I said that, it would sound witty. Why can't
you say it wittily? What on earth is the matter with you? Why
don't you inspire everybody with confidence? with respect?

MAZZINI [humbly]. I think that what is the matter with me is that
I am poor. You don't know what that means at home. Mind: I don't
say they have ever complained. They've all been wonderful:
they've been proud of my poverty. They've even joked about it
quite often. But my wife has had a very poor time of it. She has
been quite resigned--

MRS HUSHABYE [shuddering involuntarily!!

MAZZINI. There! You see, Mrs Hushabye. I don't want Ellie to live
on resignation.

MRS HUSHABYE. Do you want her to have to resign herself to living
with a man she doesn't love?

MAZZINI [wistfully]. Are you sure that would be worse than living
with a man she did love, if he was a footling person?

MRS HUSHABYE [relaxing her contemptuous attitude, quite
interested in Mazzini now]. You know, I really think you must
love Ellie very much; for you become quite clever when you talk
about her.

MAZZINI. I didn't know I was so very stupid on other subjects.

MRS HUSHABYE. You are, sometimes.

MAZZINI [turning his head away; for his eyes are wet]. I have
learnt a good deal about myself from you, Mrs Hushabye; and I'm
afraid I shall not be the happier for your plain speaking. But if
you thought I needed it to make me think of Ellie's happiness you
were very much mistaken.

MRS HUSHABYE [leaning towards him kindly]. Have I been a beast?

MAZZINI [pulling himself together]. It doesn't matter about me,
Mrs Hushabye. I think you like Ellie; and that is enough for me.

MRS HUSHABYE. I'm beginning to like you a little. I perfectly
loathed you at first. I thought you the most odious,
self-satisfied, boresome elderly prig I ever met.

MAZZINI [resigned, and now quite cheerful]. I daresay I am all
that. I never have been a favorite with gorgeous women like you.
They always frighten me.

MRS HUSHABYE [pleased]. Am I a gorgeous woman, Mazzini? I shall
fall in love with you presently.

MAZZINI [with placid gallantry]. No, you won't, Hesione. But you
would be quite safe. Would you believe it that quite a lot of
women have flirted with me because I am quite safe? But they get
tired of me for the same reason.

MRS HUSHABYE [mischievously]. Take care. You may not be so safe
as you think.

MAZZINI. Oh yes, quite safe. You see, I have been in love really:
the sort of love that only happens once. [Softly]. That's why
Ellie is such a lovely girl.

MRS HUSHABYE. Well, really, you are coming out. Are you quite
sure you won't let me tempt you into a second grand passion?

MAZZINI. Quite. It wouldn't be natural. The fact is, you don't
strike on my box, Mrs Hushabye; and I certainly don't strike on

MRS HUSHABYE. I see. Your marriage was a safety match.

MAZZINI. What a very witty application of the expression I used!
I should never have thought of it.

Ellie comes in from the garden, looking anything but happy.

MRS HUSHABYE [rising]. Oh! here is Ellie at last. [She goes
behind the sofa].

ELLIE [on the threshold of the starboard door]. Guinness said you
wanted me: you and papa.

MRS HUSHABYE. You have kept us waiting so long that it almost
came to--well, never mind. Your father is a very wonderful man
[she ruffles his hair affectionately]: the only one I ever met
who could resist me when I made myself really agreeable. [She
comes to the big chair, on Mangan's left]. Come here. I have
something to show you. [Ellie strolls listlessly to the other
side of the chair]. Look.

ELLIE [contemplating Mangan without interest]. I know. He is only
asleep. We had a talk after dinner; and he fell asleep in the
middle of it.

MRS HUSHABYE. You did it, Ellie. You put him asleep.

MAZZINI [rising quickly and coming to the back of the chair]. Oh,
I hope not. Did you, Ellie?

ELLIE [wearily]. He asked me to.

MAZZINI. But it's dangerous. You know what happened to me.

ELLIE [utterly indifferent]. Oh, I daresay I can wake him. If
not, somebody else can.

MRS HUSHABYE. It doesn't matter, anyhow, because I have at last
persuaded your father that you don't want to marry him.

ELLIE [suddenly coming out of her listlessness, much vexed]. But
why did you do that, Hesione? I do want to marry him. I fully
intend to marry him.

MAZZINI. Are you quite sure, Ellie? Mrs Hushabye has made me feel
that I may have been thoughtless and selfish about it.

ELLIE [very clearly and steadily]. Papa. When Mrs. Hushabye takes
it on herself to explain to you what I think or don't think, shut

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