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Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw

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your ears tight; and shut your eyes too. Hesione knows nothing
about me: she hasn't the least notion of the sort of person I am,
and never will. I promise you I won't do anything I don't want to
do and mean to do for my own sake.

MAZZINI. You are quite, quite sure?

ELLIE. Quite, quite sure. Now you must go away and leave me to
talk to Mrs Hushabye.

MAZZINI. But I should like to hear. Shall I be in the way?

ELLIE [inexorable]. I had rather talk to her alone.

MAZZINI [affectionately]. Oh, well, I know what a nuisance
parents are, dear. I will be good and go. [He goes to the garden
door]. By the way, do you remember the address of that
professional who woke me up? Don't you think I had better
telegraph to him?

MRS HUSHABYE [moving towards the sofa]. It's too late to
telegraph tonight.

MAZZINI. I suppose so. I do hope he'll wake up in the course of
the night. [He goes out into the garden].

ELLIE [turning vigorously on Hesione the moment her father is out
of the room]. Hesione, what the devil do you mean by making
mischief with my father about Mangan?

MRS HUSHABYE [promptly losing her temper]. Don't you dare speak
to me like that, you little minx. Remember that you are in my

ELLIE. Stuff! Why don't you mind your own business? What is it to
you whether I choose to marry Mangan or not?

MRS HUSHABYE. Do you suppose you can bully me, you miserable
little matrimonial adventurer?

ELLIE. Every woman who hasn't any money is a matrimonial
adventurer. It's easy for you to talk: you have never known what
it is to want money; and you can pick up men as if they were
daisies. I am poor and respectable--

MRS HUSHABYE [interrupting]. Ho! respectable! How did you pick up
Mangan? How did you pick up my husband? You have the audacity to
tell me that I am a--a--a--

ELLIE. A siren. So you are. You were born to lead men by the
nose: if you weren't, Marcus would have waited for me, perhaps.

MRS HUSHABYE [suddenly melting and half laughing]. Oh, my poor
Ellie, my pettikins, my unhappy darling! I am so sorry about
Hector. But what can I do? It's not my fault: I'd give him to you
if I could.

ELLIE. I don't blame you for that.

MRS HUSHABYE. What a brute I was to quarrel with you and call you
names! Do kiss me and say you're not angry with me.

ELLIE [fiercely]. Oh, don't slop and gush and be sentimental.
Don't you see that unless I can be hard--as hard as nails--I
shall go mad? I don't care a damn about your calling me names: do
you think a woman in my situation can feel a few hard words?

MRS HUSHABYE. Poor little woman! Poor little situation!

ELLIE. I suppose you think you're being sympathetic. You are just
foolish and stupid and selfish. You see me getting a smasher
right in the face that kills a whole part of my life: the best
part that can never come again; and you think you can help me
over it by a little coaxing and kissing. When I want all the
strength I can get to lean on: something iron, something stony, I
don't care how cruel it is, you go all mushy and want to slobber
over me. I'm not angry; I'm not unfriendly; but for God's sake do
pull yourself together; and don't think that because you're on
velvet and always have been, women who are in hell can take it as
easily as you.

MRS HUSHABYE [shrugging her shoulders]. Very well. [She sits down
on the sofa in her old place. But I warn you that when I am
neither coaxing and kissing nor laughing, I am just wondering how
much longer I can stand living in this cruel, damnable world. You
object to the siren: well, I drop the siren. You want to rest
your wounded bosom against a grindstone. Well [folding her arms]
here is the grindstone.

ELLIE [sitting down beside her, appeased]. That's better: you
really have the trick of falling in with everyone's mood; but you
don't understand, because you are not the sort of woman for whom
there is only one man and only one chance.

MRS HUSHABYE. I certainly don't understand how your marrying that
object [indicating Mangan] will console you for not being able to
marry Hector.

ELLIE. Perhaps you don't understand why I was quite a nice girl
this morning, and am now neither a girl nor particularly nice.

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, yes, I do. It's because you have made up your
mind to do something despicable and wicked.

ELLIE. I don't think so, Hesione. I must make the best of my
ruined house.

MRS HUSHABYE. Pooh! You'll get over it. Your house isn't ruined.

ELLIE. Of course I shall get over it. You don't suppose I'm going
to sit down and die of a broken heart, I hope, or be an old maid
living on a pittance from the Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers'
Association. But my heart is broken, all the same. What I mean by
that is that I know that what has happened to me with Marcus will
not happen to me ever again. In the world for me there is Marcus
and a lot of other men of whom one is just the same as another.
Well, if I can't have love, that's no reason why I should have
poverty. If Mangan has nothing else, he has money.

MRS HUSHABYE. And are there no YOUNG men with money?

ELLIE. Not within my reach. Besides, a young man would have the
right to expect love from me, and would perhaps leave me when he
found I could not give it to him. Rich young men can get rid of
their wives, you know, pretty cheaply. But this object, as you
call him, can expect nothing more from me than I am prepared to
give him.

MRS HUSHABYE. He will be your owner, remember. If he buys you, he
will make the bargain pay him and not you. Ask your father.

ELLIE [rising and strolling to the chair to contemplate their
subject]. You need not trouble on that score, Hesione. I have
more to give Boss Mangan than he has to give me: it is I who am
buying him, and at a pretty good price too, I think. Women are
better at that sort of bargain than men. I have taken the Boss's
measure; and ten Boss Mangans shall not prevent me doing far more
as I please as his wife than I have ever been able to do as a
poor girl. [Stooping to the recumbent figure]. Shall they, Boss?
I think not. [She passes on to the drawing-table, and leans
against the end of it, facing the windows]. I shall not have to
spend most of my time wondering how long my gloves will last,

MRS HUSHABYE [rising superbly]. Ellie, you are a wicked, sordid
little beast. And to think that I actually condescended to
fascinate that creature there to save you from him! Well, let me
tell you this: if you make this disgusting match, you will never
see Hector again if I can help it.

ELLIE [unmoved]. I nailed Mangan by telling him that if he did
not marry me he should never see you again [she lifts herself on
her wrists and seats herself on the end of the table].

MRS HUSHABYE [recoiling]. Oh!

ELLIE. So you see I am not unprepared for your playing that trump
against me. Well, you just try it: that's all. I should have made
a man of Marcus, not a household pet.

MRS HUSHABYE [flaming]. You dare!

ELLIE [looking almost dangerous]. Set him thinking about me if
you dare.

MRS HUSHABYE. Well, of all the impudent little fiends I ever met!
Hector says there is a certain point at which the only answer you
can give to a man who breaks all the rules is to knock him down.
What would you say if I were to box your ears?

ELLIE [calmly]. I should pull your hair.

MRS HUSHABYE [mischievously]. That wouldn't hurt me. Perhaps it
comes off at night.

ELLIE [so taken aback that she drops off the table and runs to
her]. Oh, you don't mean to say, Hesione, that your beautiful
black hair is false?

MRS HUSHABYE [patting it]. Don't tell Hector. He believes in it.

ELLIE [groaning]. Oh! Even the hair that ensnared him false!
Everything false!

MRS HUSHABYE. Pull it and try. Other women can snare men in their
hair; but I can swing a baby on mine. Aha! you can't do that,

ELLIE [heartbroken]. No. You have stolen my babies.

MRS HUSHABYE. Pettikins, don't make me cry. You know what you
said about my making a household pet of him is a little true.
Perhaps he ought to have waited for you. Would any other woman on
earth forgive you?

ELLIE. Oh, what right had you to take him all for yourself!
[Pulling herself together]. There! You couldn't help it: neither
of us could help it. He couldn't help it. No, don't say anything
more: I can't bear it. Let us wake the object. [She begins
stroking Mangan's head, reversing the movement with which she put
him to sleep]. Wake up, do you hear? You are to wake up at once.
Wake up, wake up, wake--

MANGAN [bouncing out of the chair in a fury and turning on them].
Wake up! So you think I've been asleep, do you? [He kicks the
chair violently back out of his way, and gets between them]. You
throw me into a trance so that I can't move hand or foot--I might
have been buried alive! it's a mercy I wasn't--and then you think
I was only asleep. If you'd let me drop the two times you rolled
me about, my nose would have been flattened for life against the
floor. But I've found you all out, anyhow. I know the sort of
people I'm among now. I've heard every word you've said, you and
your precious father, and [to Mrs Hushabye] you too. So I'm an
object, am I? I'm a thing, am I? I'm a fool that hasn't sense
enough to feed myself properly, am I? I'm afraid of the men that
would starve if it weren't for the wages I give them, am I? I'm
nothing but a disgusting old skinflint to be made a convenience
of by designing women and fool managers of my works, am I? I'm--

MRS HUSHABYE [with the most elegant aplomb]. Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh! Mr
Mangan, you are bound in honor to obliterate from your mind all
you heard while you were pretending to be asleep. It was not
meant for you to hear.

MANGAN. Pretending to be asleep! Do you think if I was only
pretending that I'd have sprawled there helpless, and listened to
such unfairness, such lies, such injustice and plotting and
backbiting and slandering of me, if I could have up and told you
what I thought of you! I wonder I didn't burst.

MRS HUSHABYE [sweetly]. You dreamt it all, Mr Mangan. We were
only saying how beautifully peaceful you looked in your sleep.
That was all, wasn't it, Ellie? Believe me, Mr Mangan, all those
unpleasant things came into your mind in the last half second
before you woke. Ellie rubbed your hair the wrong way; and the
disagreeable sensation suggested a disagreeable dream.

MANGAN [doggedly]. I believe in dreams.

MRS HUSHABYE. So do I. But they go by contraries, don't they?

MANGAN [depths of emotion suddenly welling up in him]. I shan't
forget, to my dying day, that when you gave me the glad eye that
time in the garden, you were making a fool of me. That was a
dirty low mean thing to do. You had no right to let me come near
you if I disgusted you. It isn't my fault if I'm old and haven't
a moustache like a bronze candlestick as your husband has. There
are things no decent woman would do to a man--like a man hitting
a woman in the breast.

Hesione, utterly shamed, sits down on the sofa and covers her
face with her hands. Mangan sits down also on his chair and
begins to cry like a child. Ellie stares at them. Mrs Hushabye,
at the distressing sound he makes, takes down her hands and looks
at him. She rises and runs to him.

MRS HUSHABYE. Don't cry: I can't bear it. Have I broken your
heart? I didn't know you had one. How could I?

MANGAN. I'm a man, ain't I?

MRS HUSHABYE [half coaxing, half rallying, altogether tenderly].
Oh no: not what I call a man. Only a Boss: just that and nothing
else. What business has a Boss with a heart?

MANGAN. Then you're not a bit sorry for what you did, nor

MRS HUSHABYE. I was ashamed for the first time in my life when
you said that about hitting a woman in the breast, and I found
out what I'd done. My very bones blushed red. You've had your
revenge, Boss. Aren't you satisfied?

MANGAN. Serve you right! Do you hear? Serve you right! You're
just cruel. Cruel.

MRS HUSHABYE. Yes: cruelty would be delicious if one could only
find some sort of cruelty that didn't really hurt. By the way
[sitting down beside him on the arm of the chair], what's your
name? It's not really Boss, is it?

MANGAN [shortly]. If you want to know, my name's Alfred.

MRS HUSHABYE [springs up]. Alfred!! Ellie, he was christened
after Tennyson!!!

MANGAN [rising]. I was christened after my uncle, and never had a
penny from him, damn him! What of it?

MRS HUSHABYE. It comes to me suddenly that you are a real person:
that you had a mother, like anyone else. [Putting her hands on
his shoulders and surveying him]. Little Alf!

MANGAN. Well, you have a nerve.

MRS HUSHABYE. And you have a heart, Alfy, a whimpering little
heart, but a real one. [Releasing him suddenly]. Now run and make
it up with Ellie. She has had time to think what to say to you,
which is more than I had [she goes out quickly into the garden by
the port door].

MANGAN. That woman has a pair of hands that go right through you.

ELLIE. Still in love with her, in spite of all we said about you?

MANGAN. Are all women like you two? Do they never think of
anything about a man except what they can get out of him? You
weren't even thinking that about me. You were only thinking
whether your gloves would last.

ELLIE. I shall not have to think about that when we are married.

MANGAN. And you think I am going to marry you after what I heard

ELLIE. You heard nothing from me that I did not tell you before.

MANGAN. Perhaps you think I can't do without you.

ELLIE. I think you would feel lonely without us all, now, after
coming to know us so well.

MANGAN [with something like a yell of despair]. Am I never to
have the last word?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [appearing at the starboard garden door]. There
is a soul in torment here. What is the matter?

MANGAN. This girl doesn't want to spend her life wondering how
long her gloves will last.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [passing through]. Don't wear any. I never do
[he goes into the pantry].

LADY UTTERWORD [appearing at the port garden door, in a handsome
dinner dress]. Is anything the matter?

ELLIE. This gentleman wants to know is he never to have the last

LADY UTTERWORD [coming forward to the sofa]. I should let him
have it, my dear. The important thing is not to have the last
word, but to have your own way.

MANGAN. She wants both.

LADY UTTERWORD. She won't get them, Mr Mangan. Providence always
has the last word.

MANGAN [desperately]. Now you are going to come religion over me.
In this house a man's mind might as well be a football. I'm
going. [He makes for the hall, but is stopped by a hail from the
Captain, who has just emerged from his pantry].

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Whither away, Boss Mangan?

MANGAN. To hell out of this house: let that be enough for you and
all here.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You were welcome to come: you are free to go.
The wide earth, the high seas, the spacious skies are waiting for
you outside.

LADY UTTERWORD. But your things, Mr Mangan. Your bag, your comb
and brushes, your pyjamas--

HECTOR [who has just appeared in the port doorway in a handsome
Arab costume]. Why should the escaping slave take his chains with

MANGAN. That's right, Hushabye. Keep the pyjamas, my lady, and
much good may they do you.

HECTOR [advancing to Lady Utterword's left hand]. Let us all go
out into the night and leave everything behind us.

MANGAN. You stay where you are, the lot of you. I want no
company, especially female company.

ELLIE. Let him go. He is unhappy here. He is angry with us.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Go, Boss Mangan; and when you have found the
land where there is happiness and where there are no women, send
me its latitude and longitude; and I will join you there.

LADY UTTERWORD. You will certainly not be comfortable without
your luggage, Mr Mangan.

ELLIE [impatient]. Go, go: why don't you go? It is a heavenly
night: you can sleep on the heath. Take my waterproof to lie on:
it is hanging up in the hall.

HECTOR. Breakfast at nine, unless you prefer to breakfast with
the captain at six.

ELLIE. Good night, Alfred.

HECTOR. Alfred! [He runs back to the door and calls into the
garden]. Randall, Mangan's Christian name is Alfred.

RANDALL [appearing in the starboard doorway in evening dress].
Then Hesione wins her bet.

Mrs Hushabye appears in the port doorway. She throws her left arm
round Hector's neck: draws him with her to the back of the sofa:
and throws her right arm round Lady Utterword's neck.

MRS HUSHABYE. They wouldn't believe me, Alf.

They contemplate him.

MANGAN. Is there any more of you coming in to look at me, as if I
was the latest thing in a menagerie?

MRS HUSHABYE. You are the latest thing in this menagerie.

Before Mangan can retort, a fall of furniture is heard from
upstairs: then a pistol shot, and a yell of pain. The staring
group breaks up in consternation.

MAZZINI'S VOICE [from above]. Help! A burglar! Help!

HECTOR [his eyes blazing]. A burglar!!!

MRS HUSHABYE. No, Hector: you'll be shot [but it is too late; he
has dashed out past Mangan, who hastily moves towards the
bookshelves out of his way].

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [blowing his whistle]. All hands aloft! [He
strides out after Hector].

LADY UTTERWORD. My diamonds! [She follows the captain].

RANDALL [rushing after her]. No. Ariadne. Let me.

ELLIE. Oh, is papa shot? [She runs out].

MRS HUSHABYE. Are you frightened, Alf?

MANGAN. No. It ain't my house, thank God.

MRS HUSHABYE. If they catch a burglar, shall we have to go into
court as witnesses, and be asked all sorts of questions about our
private lives?

MANGAN. You won't be believed if you tell the truth.

Mazzini, terribly upset, with a duelling pistol in his hand,
comes from the hall, and makes his way to the drawing-table.

MAZZINI. Oh, my dear Mrs Hushabye, I might have killed him. [He
throws the pistol on the table and staggers round to the chair].
I hope you won't believe I really intended to.

Hector comes in, marching an old and villainous looking man
before him by the collar. He plants him in the middle of the room
and releases him.

Ellie follows, and immediately runs across to the back of her
father's chair and pats his shoulders.

RANDALL [entering with a poker]. Keep your eye on this door,
Mangan. I'll look after the other [he goes to the starboard door
and stands on guard there].

Lady Utterword comes in after Randall, and goes between Mrs
Hushabye and Mangan.

Nurse Guinness brings up the rear, and waits near the door, on
Mangan's left.

MRS HUSHABYE. What has happened?

MAZZINI. Your housekeeper told me there was somebody upstairs,
and gave me a pistol that Mr Hushabye had been practising with. I
thought it would frighten him; but it went off at a touch.

THE BURGLAR. Yes, and took the skin off my ear. Precious near
took the top off my head. Why don't you have a proper revolver
instead of a thing like that, that goes off if you as much as
blow on it?

HECTOR. One of my duelling pistols. Sorry.

MAZZINI. He put his hands up and said it was a fair cop.

THE BURGLAR. So it was. Send for the police.

HECTOR. No, by thunder! It was not a fair cop. We were four to

MRS HUSHABYE. What will they do to him?

THE BURGLAR. Ten years. Beginning with solitary. Ten years off my
life. I shan't serve it all: I'm too old. It will see me out.

LADY UTTERWORD. You should have thought of that before you stole
my diamonds.

THE BURGLAR. Well, you've got them back, lady, haven't you? Can
you give me back the years of my life you are going to take from

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, we can't bury a man alive for ten years for a
few diamonds.

THE BURGLAR. Ten little shining diamonds! Ten long black years!

LADY UTTERWORD. Think of what it is for us to be dragged through
the horrors of a criminal court, and have all our family affairs
in the papers! If you were a native, and Hastings could order you
a good beating and send you away, I shouldn't mind; but here in
England there is no real protection for any respectable person.

THE BURGLAR. I'm too old to be giv a hiding, lady. Send for the
police and have done with it. It's only just and right you

RANDALL [who has relaxed his vigilance on seeing the burglar so
pacifically disposed, and comes forward swinging the poker
between his fingers like a well folded umbrella]. It is neither
just nor right that we should be put to a lot of inconvenience to
gratify your moral enthusiasm, my friend. You had better get out,
while you have the chance.

THE BURGLAR [inexorably]. No. I must work my sin off my
conscience. This has come as a sort of call to me. Let me spend
the rest of my life repenting in a cell. I shall have my reward

MANGAN [exasperated]. The very burglars can't behave naturally in
this house.

HECTOR. My good sir, you must work out your salvation at somebody
else's expense. Nobody here is going to charge you.

THE BURGLAR. Oh, you won't charge me, won't you?

HECTOR. No. I'm sorry to be inhospitable; but will you kindly
leave the house?

THE BURGLAR. Right. I'll go to the police station and give myself
up. [He turns resolutely to the door: but Hector stops him].

HECTOR. { Oh, no. You mustn't do that.
RANDALL. [speaking { No no. Clear out man, can't you; and
together] don't be a fool.
MRS. HUSHABYE { Don't be so silly. Can't you repent at

LADY UTTERWORD. You will have to do as you are told.

THE BURGLAR. It's compounding a felony, you know.

MRS HUSHABYE. This is utterly ridiculous. Are we to be forced to
prosecute this man when we don't want to?

THE BURGLAR. Am I to be robbed of my salvation to save you the
trouble of spending a day at the sessions? Is that justice? Is it
right? Is it fair to me?

MAZZINI [rising and leaning across the table persuasively as if
it were a pulpit desk or a shop counter]. Come, come! let me show
you how you can turn your very crimes to account. Why not set up
as a locksmith? You must know more about locks than most honest

THE BURGLAR. That's true, sir. But I couldn't set up as a
locksmith under twenty pounds.

RANDALL. Well, you can easily steal twenty pounds. You will find
it in the nearest bank.

THE BURGLAR [horrified]. Oh, what a thing for a gentleman to put
into the head of a poor criminal scrambling out of the bottomless
pit as it were! Oh, shame on you, sir! Oh, God forgive you! [He
throws himself into the big chair and covers his face as if in

LADY UTTERWORD. Really, Randall!

HECTOR. It seems to me that we shall have to take up a collection
for this inopportunely contrite sinner.

LADY UTTERWORD. But twenty pounds is ridiculous.

THE BURGLAR [looking up quickly]. I shall have to buy a lot of
tools, lady.

LADY UTTERWORD. Nonsense: you have your burgling kit.

THE BURGLAR. What's a jimmy and a centrebit and an acetylene
welding plant and a bunch of skeleton keys? I shall want a forge,
and a smithy, and a shop, and fittings. I can't hardly do it for

HECTOR. My worthy friend, we haven't got twenty pounds.

THE BURGLAR [now master of the situation]. You can raise it among
you, can't you?

MRS HUSHABYE. Give him a sovereign, Hector, and get rid of him.

HECTOR [giving him a pound]. There! Off with you.

THE BURGLAR [rising and taking the money very ungratefully]. I
won't promise nothing. You have more on you than a quid: all the
lot of you, I mean.

LADY UTTERWORD [vigorously]. Oh, let us prosecute him and have
done with it. I have a conscience too, I hope; and I do not feel
at all sure that we have any right to let him go, especially if
he is going to be greedy and impertinent.

THE BURGLAR [quickly]. All right, lady, all right. I've no wish
to be anything but agreeable. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen;
and thank you kindly.

He is hurrying out when he is confronted in the doorway by
Captain Shotover.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [fixing the burglar with a piercing regard].
What's this? Are there two of you?

THE BURGLAR [falling on his knees before the captain in abject
terror]. Oh, my good Lord, what have I done? Don't tell me it's
your house I've broken into, Captain Shotover.

The captain seizes him by the collar: drags him to his feet: and
leads him to the middle of the group, Hector falling back beside
his wife to make way for them.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [turning him towards Ellie]. Is that your
daughter? [He releases him].

THE BURGLAR. Well, how do I know, Captain? You know the sort of
life you and me has led. Any young lady of that age might be my
daughter anywhere in the wide world, as you might say.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [to Mazzini]. You are not Billy Dunn. This is
Billy Dunn. Why have you imposed on me?

THE BURGLAR [indignantly to Mazzini]. Have you been giving
yourself out to be me? You, that nigh blew my head off! Shooting
yourself, in a manner of speaking!

MAZZINI. My dear Captain Shotover, ever since I came into this
house I have done hardly anything else but assure you that I am
not Mr William Dunn, but Mazzini Dunn, a very different person.

THE BURGLAR. He don't belong to my branch, Captain. There's two
sets in the family: the thinking Dunns and the drinking Dunns,
each going their own ways. I'm a drinking Dunn: he's a thinking
Dunn. But that didn't give him any right to shoot me.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. So you've turned burglar, have you?

THE BURGLAR. No, Captain: I wouldn't disgrace our old sea calling
by such a thing. I am no burglar.

LADY UTTERWORD. What were you doing with my diamonds?

GUINNESS. What did you break into the house for if you're no

RANDALL. Mistook the house for your own and came in by the wrong
window, eh?

THE BURGLAR. Well, it's no use my telling you a lie: I can take
in most captains, but not Captain Shotover, because he sold
himself to the devil in Zanzibar, and can divine water, spot
gold, explode a cartridge in your pocket with a glance of his
eye, and see the truth hidden in the heart of man. But I'm no

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Are you an honest man?

THE BURGLAR. I don't set up to be better than my
fellow-creatures, and never did, as you well know, Captain. But
what I do is innocent and pious. I enquire about for houses where
the right sort of people live. I work it on them same as I worked
it here. I break into the house; put a few spoons or diamonds in
my pocket; make a noise; get caught; and take up a collection.
And you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get caught when you're
actually trying to. I have knocked over all the chairs in a room
without a soul paying any attention to me. In the end I have had
to walk out and leave the job.

RANDALL. When that happens, do you put back the spoons and

THE BURGLAR. Well, I don't fly in the face of Providence, if
that's what you want to know.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Guinness, you remember this man?

GUINNESS. I should think I do, seeing I was married to him, the

HESIONE } [exclaiming { Married to him!
LADY UTTERWORD } together] { Guinness!!

THE BURGLAR. It wasn't legal. I've been married to no end of
women. No use coming that over me.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Take him to the forecastle [he flings him to
the door with a strength beyond his years].

GUINNESS. I suppose you mean the kitchen. They won't have him
there. Do you expect servants to keep company with thieves and
all sorts?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Land-thieves and water-thieves are the same
flesh and blood. I'll have no boatswain on my quarter-deck. Off
with you both.

THE BURGLAR. Yes, Captain. [He goes out humbly].

MAZZINI. Will it be safe to have him in the house like that?

GUINNESS. Why didn't you shoot him, sir? If I'd known who he was,
I'd have shot him myself. [She goes out].

MRS HUSHABYE. Do sit down, everybody. [She sits down on the

They all move except Ellie. Mazzini resumes his seat. Randall
sits down in the window-seat near the starboard door, again
making a pendulum of his poker, and studying it as Galileo might
have done. Hector sits on his left, in the middle. Mangan,
forgotten, sits in the port corner. Lady Utterword takes the big
chair. Captain Shotover goes into the pantry in deep abstraction.
They all look after him: and Lady Utterword coughs consciously.

MRS HUSHABYE. So Billy Dunn was poor nurse's little romance. I
knew there had been somebody.

RANDALL. They will fight their battles over again and enjoy
themselves immensely.

LADY UTTERWORD [irritably]. You are not married; and you know
nothing about it, Randall. Hold your tongue.

RANDALL. Tyrant!

MRS HUSHABYE. Well, we have had a very exciting evening.
Everything will be an anticlimax after it. We'd better all go to

RANDALL. Another burglar may turn up.

MAZZINI. Oh, impossible! I hope not.

RANDALL. Why not? There is more than one burglar in England.

MRS HUSHABYE. What do you say, Alf?

MANGAN [huffily]. Oh, I don't matter. I'm forgotten. The burglar
has put my nose out of joint. Shove me into a corner and have
done with me.

MRS HUSHABYE [jumping up mischievously, and going to him]. Would
you like a walk on the heath, Alfred? With me?

ELLIE. Go, Mr Mangan. It will do you good. Hesione will soothe

MRS HUSHABYE [slipping her arm under his and pulling him
upright]. Come, Alfred. There is a moon: it's like the night in
Tristan and Isolde. [She caresses his arm and draws him to the
port garden door].

MANGAN [writhing but yielding]. How you can have the face-the
heart-[he breaks down and is heard sobbing as she takes him out].

LADY UTTERWORD. What an extraordinary way to behave! What is the
matter with the man?

ELLIE [in a strangely calm voice, staring into an imaginary
distance]. His heart is breaking: that is all. [The captain
appears at the pantry door, listening]. It is a curious
sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our
powers of feeling. When your heart is broken, your boats are
burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and
the beginning of peace.

LADY UTTERWORD [suddenly rising in a rage, to the astonishment of
the rest]. How dare you?

HECTOR. Good heavens! What's the matter?

RANDALL [in a warning whisper]. Tch--tch-tch! Steady.

ELLIE [surprised and haughty]. I was not addressing you
particularly, Lady Utterword. And I am not accustomed to being
asked how dare I.

LADY UTTERWORD. Of course not. Anyone can see how badly you have
been brought up.

MAZZINI. Oh, I hope not, Lady Utterword. Really!

LADY UTTERWORD. I know very well what you meant. The impudence!

ELLIE. What on earth do you mean?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [advancing to the table]. She means that her
heart will not break. She has been longing all her life for
someone to break it. At last she has become afraid she has none
to break.

LADY UTTERWORD [flinging herself on her knees and throwing her
arms round him]. Papa, don't say you think I've no heart.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [raising her with grim tenderness]. If you had
no heart how could you want to have it broken, child?

HECTOR [rising with a bound]. Lady Utterword, you are not to be
trusted. You have made a scene [he runs out into the garden
through the starboard door].

LADY UTTERWORD. Oh! Hector, Hector! [she runs out after him].

RANDALL. Only nerves, I assure you. [He rises and follows her,
waving the poker in his agitation]. Ariadne! Ariadne! For God's
sake, be careful. You will--[he is gone].

MAZZINI [rising]. How distressing! Can I do anything, I wonder?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [promptly taking his chair and setting to work
at the drawing-board]. No. Go to bed. Good-night.

MAZZINI [bewildered]. Oh! Perhaps you are right.

ELLIE. Good-night, dearest. [She kisses him].

MAZZINI. Good-night, love. [He makes for the door, but turns
aside to the bookshelves]. I'll just take a book [he takes one].
Good-night. [He goes out, leaving Ellie alone with the captain].

The captain is intent on his drawing. Ellie, standing sentry over
his chair, contemplates him for a moment.

ELLIE. Does nothing ever disturb you, Captain Shotover?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I've stood on the bridge for eighteen hours in
a typhoon. Life here is stormier; but I can stand it.

ELLIE. Do you think I ought to marry Mr Mangan?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [never looking up]. One rock is as good as
another to be wrecked on.

ELLIE. I am not in love with him.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Who said you were?

ELLIE. You are not surprised?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Surprised! At my age!

ELLIE. It seems to me quite fair. He wants me for one thing: I
want him for another.



CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Well, one turns the cheek: the other kisses it.
One provides the cash: the other spends it.

ELLIE. Who will have the best of the bargain, I wonder?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. You. These fellows live in an office all day.
You will have to put up with him from dinner to breakfast; but
you will both be asleep most of that time. All day you will be
quit of him; and you will be shopping with his money. If that is
too much for you, marry a seafaring man: you will be bothered
with him only three weeks in the year, perhaps.

ELLIE. That would be best of all, I suppose.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. It's a dangerous thing to be married right up
to the hilt, like my daughter's husband. The man is at home all
day, like a damned soul in hell.

ELLIE. I never thought of that before.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. If you're marrying for business, you can't be
too businesslike.

ELLIE. Why do women always want other women's husbands?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Why do horse-thieves prefer a horse that is
broken-in to one that is wild?

ELLIE [with a short laugh]. I suppose so. What a vile world it

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. It doesn't concern me. I'm nearly out of it.

ELLIE. And I'm only just beginning.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Yes; so look ahead.

ELLIE. Well, I think I am being very prudent.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I didn't say prudent. I said look ahead.

ELLIE. What's the difference?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. It's prudent to gain the whole world and lose
your own soul. But don't forget that your soul sticks to you if
you stick to it; but the world has a way of slipping through your

ELLIE [wearily, leaving him and beginning to wander restlessly
about the room]. I'm sorry, Captain Shotover; but it's no use
talking like that to me. Old-fashioned people are no use to me.
Old-fashioned people think you can have a soul without money.
They think the less money you have, the more soul you have. Young
people nowadays know better. A soul is a very expensive thing to
keep: much more so than a motor car.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Is it? How much does your soul eat?

ELLIE. Oh, a lot. It eats music and pictures and books and
mountains and lakes and beautiful things to wear and nice people
to be with. In this country you can't have them without lots of
money: that is why our souls are so horribly starved.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Mangan's soul lives on pig's food.

ELLIE. Yes: money is thrown away on him. I suppose his soul was
starved when he was young. But it will not be thrown away on me.
It is just because I want to save my soul that I am marrying for
money. All the women who are not fools do.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. There are other ways of getting money. Why
don't you steal it?

ELLIE. Because I don't want to go to prison.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Is that the only reason? Are you quite sure
honesty has nothing to do with it?

ELLIE. Oh, you are very very old-fashioned, Captain. Does any
modern girl believe that the legal and illegal ways of getting
money are the honest and dishonest ways? Mangan robbed my father
and my father's friends. I should rob all the money back from
Mangan if the police would let me. As they won't, I must get it
back by marrying him.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I can't argue: I'm too old: my mind is made up
and finished. All I can tell you is that, old-fashioned or
new-fashioned, if you sell yourself, you deal your soul a blow
that all the books and pictures and concerts and scenery in the
world won't heal [he gets up suddenly and makes for the pantry].

ELLIE [running after him and seizing him by the sleeve]. Then why
did you sell yourself to the devil in Zanzibar?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [stopping, startled]. What?

ELLIE. You shall not run away before you answer. I have found out
that trick of yours. If you sold yourself, why shouldn't I?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I had to deal with men so degraded that they
wouldn't obey me unless I swore at them and kicked them and beat
them with my fists. Foolish people took young thieves off the
streets; flung them into a training ship where they were taught
to fear the cane instead of fearing God; and thought they'd made
men and sailors of them by private subscription. I tricked these
thieves into believing I'd sold myself to the devil. It saved my
soul from the kicking and swearing that was damning me by inches.

ELLIE [releasing him]. I shall pretend to sell myself to Boss
Mangan to save my soul from the poverty that is damning me by

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Riches will damn you ten times deeper. Riches
won't save even your body.

ELLIE. Old-fashioned again. We know now that the soul is the
body, and the body the soul. They tell us they are different
because they want to persuade us that we can keep our souls if we
let them make slaves of our bodies. I am afraid you are no use to
me, Captain.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. What did you expect? A Savior, eh? Are you
old-fashioned enough to believe in that?

ELLIE. No. But I thought you were very wise, and might help me.
Now I have found you out. You pretend to be busy, and think of
fine things to say, and run in and out to surprise people by
saying them, and get away before they can answer you.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. It confuses me to be answered. It discourages
me. I cannot bear men and women. I have to run away. I must run
away now [he tries to].

ELLIE [again seizing his arm]. You shall not run away from me. I
can hypnotize you. You are the only person in the house I can say
what I like to. I know you are fond of me. Sit down. [She draws
him to the sofa].

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [yielding]. Take care: I am in my dotage. Old
men are dangerous: it doesn't matter to them what is going to
happen to the world.

They sit side by side on the sofa. She leans affectionately
against him with her head on his shoulder and her eyes half

ELLIE [dreamily]. I should have thought nothing else mattered to
old men. They can't be very interested in what is going to happen
to themselves.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. A man's interest in the world is only the
overflow from his interest in himself. When you are a child your
vessel is not yet full; so you care for nothing but your own
affairs. When you grow up, your vessel overflows; and you are a
politician, a philosopher, or an explorer and adventurer. In old
age the vessel dries up: there is no overflow: you are a child
again. I can give you the memories of my ancient wisdom: mere
scraps and leavings; but I no longer really care for anything but
my own little wants and hobbies. I sit here working out my old
ideas as a means of destroying my fellow-creatures. I see my
daughters and their men living foolish lives of romance and
sentiment and snobbery. I see you, the younger generation,
turning from their romance and sentiment and snobbery to money
and comfort and hard common sense. I was ten times happier on the
bridge in the typhoon, or frozen into Arctic ice for months in
darkness, than you or they have ever been. You are looking for a
rich husband. At your age I looked for hardship, danger, horror,
and death, that I might feel the life in me more intensely. I did
not let the fear of death govern my life; and my reward was, I
had my life. You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your
life; and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not

ELLIE [sitting up impatiently]. But what can I do? I am not a sea
captain: I can't stand on bridges in typhoons, or go slaughtering
seals and whales in Greenland's icy mountains. They won't let
women be captains. Do you want me to be a stewardess?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. There are worse lives. The stewardesses could
come ashore if they liked; but they sail and sail and sail.

ELLIE. What could they do ashore but marry for money? I don't
want to be a stewardess: I am too bad a sailor. Think of
something else for me.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I can't think so long and continuously. I am
too old. I must go in and out. [He tries to rise].

ELLIE [pulling him back]. You shall not. You are happy here,
aren't you?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I tell you it's dangerous to keep me. I can't
keep awake and alert.

ELLIE. What do you run away for? To sleep?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. No. To get a glass of rum.

ELLIE [frightfully disillusioned]. Is that it? How disgusting! Do
you like being drunk?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. No: I dread being drunk more than anything in
the world. To be drunk means to have dreams; to go soft; to be
easily pleased and deceived; to fall into the clutches of women.
Drink does that for you when you are young. But when you are old:
very very old, like me, the dreams come by themselves. You don't
know how terrible that is: you are young: you sleep at night
only, and sleep soundly. But later on you will sleep in the
afternoon. Later still you will sleep even in the morning; and
you will awake tired, tired of life. You will never be free from
dozing and dreams; the dreams will steal upon your work every ten
minutes unless you can awaken yourself with rum. I drink now to
keep sober; but the dreams are conquering: rum is not what it
was: I have had ten glasses since you came; and it might be so
much water. Go get me another: Guinness knows where it is. You
had better see for yourself the horror of an old man drinking.

ELLIE. You shall not drink. Dream. I like you to dream. You must
never be in the real world when we talk together.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I am too weary to resist, or too weak. I am in
my second childhood. I do not see you as you really are. I can't
remember what I really am. I feel nothing but the accursed
happiness I have dreaded all my life long: the happiness that
comes as life goes, the happiness of yielding and dreaming
instead of resisting and doing, the sweetness of the fruit that
is going rotten.

ELLIE. You dread it almost as much as I used to dread losing my
dreams and having to fight and do things. But that is all over
for me: my dreams are dashed to pieces. I should like to marry a
very old, very rich man. I should like to marry you. I had much
rather marry you than marry Mangan. Are you very rich?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. No. Living from hand to mouth. And I have a
wife somewhere in Jamaica: a black one. My first wife. Unless
she's dead.

ELLIE. What a pity! I feel so happy with you. [She takes his
hand, almost unconsciously, and pats it]. I thought I should
never feel happy again.


ELLIE. Don't you know?


ELLIE. Heartbreak. I fell in love with Hector, and didn't know he
was married.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Heartbreak? Are you one of those who are so
sufficient to themselves that they are only happy when they are
stripped of everything, even of hope?

ELLIE [gripping the hand]. It seems so; for I feel now as if
there was nothing I could not do, because I want nothing.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. That's the only real strength. That's genius.
That's better than rum.

ELLIE [throwing away his hand]. Rum! Why did you spoil it?

Hector and Randall come in from the garden through the starboard

HECTOR. I beg your pardon. We did not know there was anyone here.

ELLIE [rising]. That means that you want to tell Mr Randall the
story about the tiger. Come, Captain: I want to talk to my
father; and you had better come with me.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [rising]. Nonsense! the man is in bed.

ELLIE. Aha! I've caught you. My real father has gone to bed; but
the father you gave me is in the kitchen. You knew quite well all
along. Come. [She draws him out into the garden with her through
the port door].

HECTOR. That's an extraordinary girl. She has the Ancient Mariner
on a string like a Pekinese dog.

RANDALL. Now that they have gone, shall we have a friendly chat?

HECTOR. You are in what is supposed to be my house. I am at your

Hector sits down in the draughtsman's chair, turning it to face
Randall, who remains standing, leaning at his ease against the
carpenter's bench.

RANDALL. I take it that we may be quite frank. I mean about Lady

HECTOR. You may. I have nothing to be frank about. I never met
her until this afternoon.

RANDALL [straightening up]. What! But you are her sister's

HECTOR. Well, if you come to that, you are her husband's brother.

RANDALL. But you seem to be on intimate terms with her.

HECTOR. So do you.

RANDALL. Yes: but I AM on intimate terms with her. I have known
her for years.

HECTOR. It took her years to get to the same point with you that
she got to with me in five minutes, it seems.

RANDALL [vexed]. Really, Ariadne is the limit [he moves away
huffishly towards the windows].

HECTOR [coolly]. She is, as I remarked to Hesione, a very
enterprising woman.

RANDALL [returning, much troubled]. You see, Hushabye, you are
what women consider a good-looking man.

HECTOR. I cultivated that appearance in the days of my vanity;
and Hesione insists on my keeping it up. She makes me wear these
ridiculous things [indicating his Arab costume] because she
thinks me absurd in evening dress.

RANDALL. Still, you do keep it up, old chap. Now, I assure you I
have not an atom of jealousy in my disposition

HECTOR. The question would seem to be rather whether your brother
has any touch of that sort.

RANDALL. What! Hastings! Oh, don't trouble about Hastings. He has
the gift of being able to work sixteen hours a day at the dullest
detail, and actually likes it. That gets him to the top wherever
he goes. As long as Ariadne takes care that he is fed regularly,
he is only too thankful to anyone who will keep her in good humor
for him.

HECTOR. And as she has all the Shotover fascination, there is
plenty of competition for the job, eh?

RANDALL [angrily]. She encourages them. Her conduct is perfectly
scandalous. I assure you, my dear fellow, I haven't an atom of
jealousy in my composition; but she makes herself the talk of
every place she goes to by her thoughtlessness. It's nothing
more: she doesn't really care for the men she keeps hanging about
her; but how is the world to know that? It's not fair to
Hastings. It's not fair to me.

HECTOR. Her theory is that her conduct is so correct

RANDALL. Correct! She does nothing but make scenes from morning
till night. You be careful, old chap. She will get you into
trouble: that is, she would if she really cared for you.

HECTOR. Doesn't she?

RANDALL. Not a scrap. She may want your scalp to add to her
collection; but her true affection has been engaged years ago.
You had really better be careful.

HECTOR. Do you suffer much from this jealousy?

RANDALL. Jealousy! I jealous! My dear fellow, haven't I told you
that there is not an atom of--

HECTOR. Yes. And Lady Utterword told me she never made scenes.
Well, don't waste your jealousy on my moustache. Never waste
jealousy on a real man: it is the imaginary hero that supplants
us all in the long run. Besides, jealousy does not belong to your
easy man-of-the-world pose, which you carry so well in other

RANDALL. Really, Hushabye, I think a man may be allowed to be a
gentleman without being accused of posing.

HECTOR. It is a pose like any other. In this house we know all
the poses: our game is to find out the man under the pose. The
man under your pose is apparently Ellie's favorite, Othello.

RANDALL. Some of your games in this house are damned annoying,
let me tell you.

HECTOR. Yes: I have been their victim for many years. I used to
writhe under them at first; but I became accustomed to them. At
last I learned to play them.

RANDALL. If it's all the same to you I had rather you didn't play
them on me. You evidently don't quite understand my character, or
my notions of good form.

HECTOR. Is it your notion of good form to give away Lady

RANDALL [a childishly plaintive note breaking into his huff]. I
have not said a word against Lady Utterword. This is just the
conspiracy over again.

HECTOR. What conspiracy?

RANDALL. You know very well, sir. A conspiracy to make me out to
be pettish and jealous and childish and everything I am not.
Everyone knows I am just the opposite.

HECTOR [rising]. Something in the air of the house has upset you.
It often does have that effect. [He goes to the garden door and
calls Lady Utterword with commanding emphasis]. Ariadne!

LADY UTTERWORD [at some distance]. Yes.

RANDALL. What are you calling her for? I want to speak--

LADY UTTERWORD [arriving breathless]. Yes. You really are a
terribly commanding person. What's the matter?

HECTOR. I do not know how to manage your friend Randall. No doubt
you do.

LADY UTTERWORD. Randall: have you been making yourself
ridiculous, as usual? I can see it in your face. Really, you are
the most pettish creature.

RANDALL. You know quite well, Ariadne, that I have not an ounce
of pettishness in my disposition. I have made myself perfectly
pleasant here. I have remained absolutely cool and imperturbable
in the face of a burglar. Imperturbability is almost too strong a
point of mine. But [putting his foot down with a stamp, and
walking angrily up and down the room] I insist on being treated
with a certain consideration. I will not allow Hushabye to take
liberties with me. I will not stand your encouraging people as
you do.

HECTOR. The man has a rooted delusion that he is your husband.

LADY UTTERWORD. I know. He is jealous. As if he had any right to
be! He compromises me everywhere. He makes scenes all over the
place. Randall: I will not allow it. I simply will not allow it.
You had no right to discuss me with Hector. I will not be
discussed by men.

HECTOR. Be reasonable, Ariadne. Your fatal gift of beauty forces
men to discuss you.

LADY UTTERWORD. Oh indeed! what about YOUR fatal gift of beauty?

HECTOR. How can I help it?

LADY UTTERWORD. You could cut off your moustache: I can't cut off
my nose. I get my whole life messed up with people falling in
love with me. And then Randall says I run after men.


LADY UTTERWORD. Yes you do: you said it just now. Why can't you
think of something else than women? Napoleon was quite right when
he said that women are the occupation of the idle man. Well, if
ever there was an idle man on earth, his name is Randall

RANDALL. Ariad--

LADY UTTERWORD [overwhelming him with a torrent of words]. Oh yes
you are: it's no use denying it. What have you ever done? What
good are you? You are as much trouble in the house as a child of
three. You couldn't live without your valet.

RANDALL. This is--

LADY UTTERWORD. Laziness! You are laziness incarnate. You are
selfishness itself. You are the most uninteresting man on earth.
You can't even gossip about anything but yourself and your
grievances and your ailments and the people who have offended
you. [Turning to Hector]. Do you know what they call him, Hector?

HECTOR } [speaking { Please don't tell me.
RANDALL } together] { I'll not stand it--

LADY UTTERWORD. Randall the Rotter: that is his name in good

RANDALL [shouting]. I'll not bear it, I tell you. Will you listen
to me, you infernal--[he chokes].

LADY UTTERWORD. Well: go on. What were you going to call me? An
infernal what? Which unpleasant animal is it to be this time?

RANDALL [foaming]. There is no animal in the world so hateful as
a woman can be. You are a maddening devil. Hushabye, you will not
believe me when I tell you that I have loved this demon all my
life; but God knows I have paid for it [he sits down in the
draughtsman's chair, weeping].

LADY UTTERWORD [standing over him with triumphant contempt].

HECTOR [gravely, coming to him]. My friend, the Shotover sisters
have two strange powers over men. They can make them love; and
they can make them cry. Thank your stars that you are not married
to one of them.

LADY UTTERWORD [haughtily]. And pray, Hector--

HECTOR [suddenly catching her round the shoulders: swinging her
right round him and away from Randall: and gripping her throat
with the other hand]. Ariadne, if you attempt to start on me,
I'll choke you: do you hear? The cat-and-mouse game with the
other sex is a good game; but I can play your head off at it. [He
throws her, not at all gently, into the big chair, and proceeds,
less fiercely but firmly]. It is true that Napoleon said that
woman is the occupation of the idle man. But he added that she is
the relaxation of the warrior. Well, I am the warrior. So take

LADY UTTERWORD [not in the least put out, and rather pleased by
his violence]. My dear Hector, I have only done what you asked me
to do.

HECTOR. How do you make that out, pray?

LADY UTTERWORD. You called me in to manage Randall, didn't you?
You said you couldn't manage him yourself.

HECTOR. Well, what if I did? I did not ask you to drive the man

LADY UTTERWORD. He isn't mad. That's the way to manage him. If
you were a mother, you'd understand.

HECTOR. Mother! What are you up to now?

LADY UTTERWORD. It's quite simple. When the children got nerves
and were naughty, I smacked them just enough to give them a good
cry and a healthy nervous shock. They went to sleep and were
quite good afterwards. Well, I can't smack Randall: he is too
big; so when he gets nerves and is naughty, I just rag him till
he cries. He will be all right now. Look: he is half asleep
already [which is quite true].

RANDALL [waking up indignantly]. I'm not. You are most cruel,
Ariadne. [Sentimentally]. But I suppose I must forgive you, as
usual [he checks himself in the act of yawning].

LADY UTTERWORD [to Hector]. Is the explanation satisfactory,
dread warrior?

HECTOR. Some day I shall kill you, if you go too far. I thought
you were a fool.

LADY UTTERWORD [laughing]. Everybody does, at first. But I am not
such a fool as I look. [She rises complacently]. Now, Randall, go
to bed. You will be a good boy in the morning.

RANDALL [only very faintly rebellious]. I'll go to bed when I
like. It isn't ten yet.

LADY UTTERWORD. It is long past ten. See that he goes to bed at
once, Hector. [She goes into the garden].

HECTOR. Is there any slavery on earth viler than this slavery of
men to women?

RANDALL [rising resolutely]. I'll not speak to her tomorrow. I'll
not speak to her for another week. I'll give her such a lesson.
I'll go straight to bed without bidding her good-night. [He makes
for the door leading to the hall].

HECTOR. You are under a spell, man. Old Shotover sold himself to
the devil in Zanzibar. The devil gave him a black witch for a
wife; and these two demon daughters are their mystical progeny. I
am tied to Hesione's apron-string; but I'm her husband; and if I
did go stark staring mad about her, at least we became man and
wife. But why should you let yourself be dragged about and beaten
by Ariadne as a toy donkey is dragged about and beaten by a
child? What do you get by it? Are you her lover?

RANDALL. You must not misunderstand me. In a higher sense--in a
Platonic sense--

HECTOR. Psha! Platonic sense! She makes you her servant; and when
pay-day comes round, she bilks you: that is what you mean.

RANDALL [feebly]. Well, if I don't mind, I don't see what
business it is of yours. Besides, I tell you I am going to punish
her. You shall see: I know how to deal with women. I'm really
very sleepy. Say good-night to Mrs Hushabye for me, will you,
like a good chap. Good-night. [He hurries out].

HECTOR. Poor wretch! Oh women! women! women! [He lifts his fists
in invocation to heaven]. Fall. Fall and crush. [He goes out into
the garden].


In the garden, Hector, as he comes out through the glass door of
the poop, finds Lady Utterword lying voluptuously in the hammock
on the east side of the flagstaff, in the circle of light cast by
the electric arc, which is like a moon in its opal globe. Beneath
the head of the hammock, a campstool. On the other side of the
flagstaff, on the long garden seat, Captain Shotover is asleep,
with Ellie beside him, leaning affectionately against him on his
right hand. On his left is a deck chair. Behind them in the
gloom, Hesione is strolling about with Mangan. It is a fine still
night, moonless.

LADY UTTERWORD. What a lovely night! It seems made for us.

HECTOR. The night takes no interest in us. What are we to the
night? [He sits down moodily in the deck chair].

ELLIE [dreamily, nestling against the captain]. Its beauty soaks
into my nerves. In the night there is peace for the old and hope
for the young.

HECTOR. Is that remark your own?

ELLIE. No. Only the last thing the captain said before he went to

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I'm not asleep.

HECTOR. Randall is. Also Mr Mazzini Dunn. Mangan, too, probably.


HECTOR. Oh, you are there. I thought Hesione would have sent you
to bed by this time.

MRS HUSHABYE [coming to the back of the garden seat, into the
light, with Mangan]. I think I shall. He keeps telling me he has
a presentiment that he is going to die. I never met a man so
greedy for sympathy.

MANGAN [plaintively]. But I have a presentiment. I really have.
And you wouldn't listen.

MRS HUSHABYE. I was listening for something else. There was a
sort of splendid drumming in the sky. Did none of you hear it? It
came from a distance and then died away.

MANGAN. I tell you it was a train.

MRS HUSHABYE. And I tell you, Alf, there is no train at this
hour. The last is nine forty-five.

MANGAN. But a goods train.

MRS HUSHABYE. Not on our little line. They tack a truck on to the
passenger train. What can it have been, Hector?

HECTOR. Heaven's threatening growl of disgust at us useless
futile creatures. [Fiercely]. I tell you, one of two things must
happen. Either out of that darkness some new creation will come
to supplant us as we have supplanted the animals, or the heavens
will fall in thunder and destroy us.

LADY UTTERWORD [in a cool instructive manner, wallowing
comfortably in her hammock]. We have not supplanted the animals,
Hector. Why do you ask heaven to destroy this house, which could
be made quite comfortable if Hesione had any notion of how to
live? Don't you know what is wrong with it?

HECTOR. We are wrong with it. There is no sense in us. We are
useless, dangerous, and ought to be abolished.

LADY UTTERWORD. Nonsense! Hastings told me the very first day he
came here, nearly twenty-four years ago, what is wrong with the

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. What! The numskull said there was something
wrong with my house!

LADY UTTERWORD. I said Hastings said it; and he is not in the
least a numskull.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. What's wrong with my house?

LADY UTTERWORD. Just what is wrong with a ship, papa. Wasn't it
clever of Hastings to see that?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. The man's a fool. There's nothing wrong with a

LADY UTTERWORD. Yes, there is.

MRS HUSHABYE. But what is it? Don't be aggravating, Addy.


HECTOR. Demons. Daughters of the witch of Zanzibar. Demons.

LADY UTTERWORD. Not a bit. I assure you, all this house needs to
make it a sensible, healthy, pleasant house, with good appetites
and sound sleep in it, is horses.

MRS HUSHABYE. Horses! What rubbish!

LADY UTTERWORD. Yes: horses. Why have we never been able to let
this house? Because there are no proper stables. Go anywhere in
England where there are natural, wholesome, contented, and really
nice English people; and what do you always find? That the
stables are the real centre of the household; and that if any
visitor wants to play the piano the whole room has to be upset
before it can be opened, there are so many things piled on it. I
never lived until I learned to ride; and I shall never ride
really well because I didn't begin as a child. There are only two
classes in good society in England: the equestrian classes and
the neurotic classes. It isn't mere convention: everybody can see
that the people who hunt are the right people and the people who
don't are the wrong ones.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. There is some truth in this. My ship made a man
of me; and a ship is the horse of the sea.

LADY UTTERWORD. Exactly how Hastings explained your being a

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Not bad for a numskull. Bring the man here with
you next time: I must talk to him.

LADY UTTERWORD. Why is Randall such an obvious rotter? He is well
bred; he has been at a public school and a university; he has
been in the Foreign Office; he knows the best people and has
lived all his life among them. Why is he so unsatisfactory, so
contemptible? Why can't he get a valet to stay with him longer
than a few months? Just because he is too lazy and
pleasure-loving to hunt and shoot. He strums the piano, and
sketches, and runs after married women, and reads literary books
and poems. He actually plays the flute; but I never let him bring
it into my house. If he would only--[she is interrupted by the
melancholy strains of a flute coming from an open window above.
She raises herself indignantly in the hammock]. Randall, you have
not gone to bed. Have you been listening? [The flute replies
pertly]. How vulgar! Go to bed instantly, Randall: how dare you?
[The window is slammed down. She subsides]. How can anyone care
for such a creature!

MRS HUSHABYE. Addy: do you think Ellie ought to marry poor Alfred
merely for his money?

MANGAN [much alarmed]. What's that? Mrs Hushabye, are my affairs
to be discussed like this before everybody?

LADY UTTERWORD. I don't think Randall is listening now.

MANGAN. Everybody is listening. It isn't right.

MRS HUSHABYE. But in the dark, what does it matter? Ellie doesn't
mind. Do you, Ellie?

ELLIE. Not in the least. What is your opinion, Lady Utterword?
You have so much good sense.

MANGAN. But it isn't right. It--[Mrs Hushabye puts her hand on
his mouth]. Oh, very well.

LADY UTTERWORD. How much money have you, Mr. Mangan?

MANGAN. Really--No: I can't stand this.

LADY UTTERWORD. Nonsense, Mr Mangan! It all turns on your income,
doesn't it?

MANGAN. Well, if you come to that, how much money has she?

ELLIE. None.

LADY UTTERWORD. You are answered, Mr Mangan. And now, as you have
made Miss Dunn throw her cards on the table, you cannot refuse to
show your own.

MRS HUSHABYE. Come, Alf! out with it! How much?

MANGAN [baited out of all prudence]. Well, if you want to know, I
have no money and never had any.

MRS HUSHABYE. Alfred, you mustn't tell naughty stories.

MANGAN. I'm not telling you stories. I'm telling you the raw

LADY UTTERWORD. Then what do you live on, Mr Mangan?

MANGAN. Travelling expenses. And a trifle of commission.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. What more have any of us but travelling
expenses for our life's journey?

MRS HUSHABYE. But you have factories and capital and things?

MANGAN. People think I have. People think I'm an industrial
Napoleon. That's why Miss Ellie wants to marry me. But I tell you
I have nothing.

ELLIE. Do you mean that the factories are like Marcus's tigers?
That they don't exist?

MANGAN. They exist all right enough. But they're not mine. They
belong to syndicates and shareholders and all sorts of lazy
good-for-nothing capitalists. I get money from such people to
start the factories. I find people like Miss Dunn's father to
work them, and keep a tight hand so as to make them pay. Of
course I make them keep me going pretty well; but it's a dog's
life; and I don't own anything.

MRS HUSHABYE. Alfred, Alfred, you are making a poor mouth of it
to get out of marrying Ellie.

MANGAN. I'm telling the truth about my money for the first time
in my life; and it's the first time my word has ever been

LADY UTTERWORD. How sad! Why don't you go in for politics, Mr

MANGAN. Go in for politics! Where have you been living? I am in

LADY UTTERWORD. I'm sure I beg your pardon. I never heard of you.

MANGAN. Let me tell you, Lady Utterword, that the Prime Minister
of this country asked me to join the Government without even
going through the nonsense of an election, as the dictator of a
great public department.

LADY UTTERWORD. As a Conservative or a Liberal?

MANGAN. No such nonsense. As a practical business man. [They all
burst out laughing]. What are you all laughing at?

MRS HUSHARYE. Oh, Alfred, Alfred!

ELLIE. You! who have to get my father to do everything for you!

MRS HUSHABYE. You! who are afraid of your own workmen!

HECTOR. You! with whom three women have been playing cat and
mouse all the evening!

LADY UTTERWORD. You must have given an immense sum to the party
funds, Mr Mangan.

MANGAN. Not a penny out of my own pocket. The syndicate found the
money: they knew how useful I should be to them in the

LADY UTTERWORD. This is most interesting and unexpected, Mr
Mangan. And what have your administrative achievements been, so

MANGAN. Achievements? Well, I don't know what you call
achievements; but I've jolly well put a stop to the games of the
other fellows in the other departments. Every man of them thought
he was going to save the country all by himself, and do me out of
the credit and out of my chance of a title. I took good care that
if they wouldn't let me do it they shouldn't do it themselves
either. I may not know anything about my own machinery; but I
know how to stick a ramrod into the other fellow's. And now they
all look the biggest fools going.

HECTOR. And in heaven's name, what do you look like?

MANGAN. I look like the fellow that was too clever for all the
others, don't I? If that isn't a triumph of practical business,
what is?

HECTOR. Is this England, or is it a madhouse?

LADY UTTERWORD. Do you expect to save the country, Mr Mangan?

MANGAN. Well, who else will? Will your Mr Randall save it?

LADY UTTERWORD. Randall the rotter! Certainly not.

MANGAN. Will your brother-in-law save it with his moustache and
his fine talk?

HECTOR. Yes, if they will let me.

MANGAN [sneering]. Ah! Will they let you?

HECTOR. No. They prefer you.

MANGAN. Very well then, as you're in a world where I'm
appreciated and you're not, you'd best be civil to me, hadn't
you? Who else is there but me?

LADY UTTERWORD. There is Hastings. Get rid of your ridiculous
sham democracy; and give Hastings the necessary powers, and a
good supply of bamboo to bring the British native to his senses:
he will save the country with the greatest ease.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. It had better be lost. Any fool can govern with
a stick in his hand. I could govern that way. It is not God's
way. The man is a numskull.

LADY UTTERWORD. The man is worth all of you rolled into one. What
do you say, Miss Dunn?

ELLIE. I think my father would do very well if people did not put
upon him and cheat him and despise him because he is so good.

MANGAN [contemptuously]. I think I see Mazzini Dunn getting into
parliament or pushing his way into the Government. We've not come
to that yet, thank God! What do you say, Mrs Hushabye?

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, I say it matters very little which of you
governs the country so long as we govern you.

HECTOR. We? Who is we, pray?

MRS HUSHABYE. The devil's granddaughters, dear. The lovely women.

HECTOR [raising his hands as before]. Fall, I say, and deliver us
from the lures of Satan!

ELLIE. There seems to be nothing real in the world except my
father and Shakespeare. Marcus's tigers are false; Mr Mangan's
millions are false; there is nothing really strong and true about
Hesione but her beautiful black hair; and Lady Utterword's is too
pretty to be real. The one thing that was left to me was the
Captain's seventh degree of concentration; and that turns out to


LADY UTTERWORD [placidly]. A good deal of my hair is quite
genuine. The Duchess of Dithering offered me fifty guineas for
this [touching her forehead] under the impression that it was a
transformation; but it is all natural except the color.

MANGAN [wildly]. Look here: I'm going to take off all my clothes
[he begins tearing off his coat].

LADY UTTERWORD. } [in { Mr. Mangan!
CAPTAIN SHOTOVER } consterna- { What's that?
HECTOR. } tion] { Ha! Ha! Do. Do
ELLIE } { Please don't.

MRS HUSHABYE [catching his arm and stopping him]. Alfred, for
shame! Are you mad?

MANGAN. Shame! What shame is there in this house? Let's all strip
stark naked. We may as well do the thing thoroughly when we're
about it. We've stripped ourselves morally naked: well, let us
strip ourselves physically naked as well, and see how we like it.
I tell you I can't bear this. I was brought up to be respectable.
I don't mind the women dyeing their hair and the men drinking:
it's human nature. But it's not human nature to tell everybody
about it. Every time one of you opens your mouth I go like this
[he cowers as if to avoid a missile], afraid of what will come
next. How are we to have any self-respect if we don't keep it up
that we're better than we really are?

LADY UTTERWORD. I quite sympathize with you, Mr Mangan. I have
been through it all; and I know by experience that men and women
are delicate plants and must be cultivated under glass. Our
family habit of throwing stones in all directions and letting the
air in is not only unbearably rude, but positively dangerous.
Still, there is no use catching physical colds as well as moral
ones; so please keep your clothes on.

MANGAN. I'll do as I like: not what you tell me. Am I a child or
a grown man? I won't stand this mothering tyranny. I'll go back
to the city, where I'm respected and made much of.

MRS HUSHABYE. Goodbye, Alf. Think of us sometimes in the city.
Think of Ellie's youth!

ELLIE. Think of Hesione's eyes and hair!

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Think of this garden in which you are not a dog
barking to keep the truth out!

HECTOR. Think of Lady Utterword's beauty! her good sense! her

LADY UTTERWORD. Flatterer. Think, Mr. Mangan, whether you can
really do any better for yourself elsewhere: that is the
essential point, isn't it?

MANGAN [surrendering]. All right: all right. I'm done. Have it
your own way. Only let me alone. I don't know whether I'm on my
head or my heels when you all start on me like this. I'll stay.
I'll marry her. I'll do anything for a quiet life. Are you
satisfied now?

ELLIE. No. I never really intended to make you marry me, Mr
Mangan. Never in the depths of my soul. I only wanted to feel my
strength: to know that you could not escape if I chose to take

MANGAN [indignantly]. What! Do you mean to say you are going to
throw me over after my acting so handsome?

LADY UTTERWORD. I should not be too hasty, Miss Dunn. You can
throw Mr Mangan over at any time up to the last moment. Very few
men in his position go bankrupt. You can live very comfortably on
his reputation for immense wealth.

ELLIE. I cannot commit bigamy, Lady Utterword.

MRS HUSHABYE. } { Bigamy! Whatever on earth are you
} { talking about, Ellie?
LADY UTTERWORD } [exclaiming { Bigamy! What do you mean, Miss
} { Dunn?
MANGAN } altogether] { Bigamy! Do you mean to say you're
} { married already?
HECTOR } { Bigamy! This is some enigma.

ELLIE. Only half an hour ago I became Captain Shotover's white

MRS HUSHABYE. Ellie! What nonsense! Where?

ELLIE. In heaven, where all true marriages are made.

LADY UTTERWORD. Really, Miss Dunn! Really, papa!

MANGAN. He told me I was too old! And him a mummy!

HECTOR [quoting Shelley].

"Their altar the grassy earth outspreads
And their priest the muttering wind."

ELLIE. Yes: I, Ellie Dunn, give my broken heart and my strong
sound soul to its natural captain, my spiritual husband and
second father.

She draws the captain's arm through hers, and pats his hand. The
captain remains fast asleep.

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, that's very clever of you, pettikins. Very
clever. Alfred, you could never have lived up to Ellie. You must
be content with a little share of me.

MANGAN [snifflng and wiping his eyes]. It isn't kind--[his
emotion chokes him].

LADY UTTERWORD. You are well out of it, Mr Mangan. Miss Dunn is
the most conceited young woman I have met since I came back to

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, Ellie isn't conceited. Are you, pettikins?

ELLIE. I know my strength now, Hesione.

MANGAN. Brazen, I call you. Brazen.

MRS HUSHABYE. Tut, tut, Alfred: don't be rude. Don't you feel how
lovely this marriage night is, made in heaven? Aren't you happy,
you and Hector? Open your eyes: Addy and Ellie look beautiful
enough to please the most fastidious man: we live and love and
have not a care in the world. We women have managed all that for
you. Why in the name of common sense do you go on as if you were
two miserable wretches?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. I tell you happiness is no good. You can be
happy when you are only half alive. I am happier now I am half
dead than ever I was in my prime. But there is no blessing on my

ELLIE [her face lighting up]. Life with a blessing! that is what
I want. Now I know the real reason why I couldn't marry Mr
Mangan: there would be no blessing on our marriage. There is a
blessing on my broken heart. There is a blessing on your beauty,
Hesione. There is a blessing on your father's spirit. Even on the
lies of Marcus there is a blessing; but on Mr Mangan's money
there is none.

MANGAN. I don't understand a word of that.

ELLIE. Neither do I. But I know it means something.

MANGAN. Don't say there was any difficulty about the blessing. I
was ready to get a bishop to marry us.

MRS HUSHABYE. Isn't he a fool, pettikins?

HECTOR [fiercely]. Do not scorn the man. We are all fools.

Mazzini, in pyjamas and a richly colored silk dressing gown,
comes from the house, on Lady Utterword's side.

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh! here comes the only man who ever resisted me.
What's the matter, Mr Dunn? Is the house on fire?

MAZZINI. Oh, no: nothing's the matter: but really it's impossible
to go to sleep with such an interesting conversation going on
under one's window, and on such a beautiful night too. I just had
to come down and join you all. What has it all been about?

MRS HUSHABYE. Oh, wonderful things, soldier of freedom.

HECTOR. For example, Mangan, as a practical business man, has
tried to undress himself and has failed ignominiously; whilst
you, as an idealist, have succeeded brilliantly.

MAZZINI. I hope you don't mind my being like this, Mrs Hushabye.
[He sits down on the campstool].

MRS HUSHABYE. On the contrary, I could wish you always like that.

LADY UTTERWORD. Your daughter's match is off, Mr Dunn. It seems
that Mr Mangan, whom we all supposed to be a man of property,
owns absolutely nothing.

MAZZINI. Well, of course I knew that, Lady Utterword. But if
people believe in him and are always giving him money, whereas
they don't believe in me and never give me any, how can I ask
poor Ellie to depend on what I can do for her?

MANGAN. Don't you run away with this idea that I have nothing.

HECTOR. Oh, don't explain. We understand. You have a couple of
thousand pounds in exchequer bills, 50,000 shares worth tenpence
a dozen, and half a dozen tabloids of cyanide of potassium to
poison yourself with when you are found out. That's the reality
of your millions.

MAZZINI. Oh no, no, no. He is quite honest: the businesses are
genuine and perfectly legal.

HECTOR [disgusted]. Yah! Not even a great swindler!

MANGAN. So you think. But I've been too many for some honest men,
for all that.

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