Part 4 out of 5
not only to maintain itself, but to achieve higher and higher
organization and completer self-consciousness, is only, at best,
a doubtful campaign between its forces and those of Death and
Degeneration. The battles in this campaign are mere blunders,
mostly won, like actual military battles, in spite of the
THE STATUE. That is a dig at me. No matter: go on, go on.
DON JUAN. It is a dig at a much higher power than you, Commander.
Still, you must have noticed in your profession that even a
stupid general can win battles when the enemy's general is a
THE STATUE. [very seriously] Most true, Juan, most true. Some
donkeys have amazing luck.
DON JUAN. Well, the Life Force is stupid; but it is not so stupid
as the forces of Death and Degeneration. Besides, these are in
its pay all the time. And so Life wins, after a fashion. What
mere copiousness of fecundity can supply and mere greed preserve,
we possess. The survival of whatever form of civilization can
produce the best rifle and the best fed riflemen is assured.
THE DEVIL. Exactly! the survival, not of the most effective means
of Life but of the most effective means of Death. You always come
back to my point, in spite of your wrigglings and evasions and
sophistries, not to mention the intolerable length of your
DON JUAN. Oh come! who began making long speeches? However, if I
overtax your intellect, you can leave us and seek the society of
love and beauty and the rest of your favorite boredoms.
THE DEVIL. [much offended] This is not fair, Don Juan, and not
civil. I am also on the intellectual plane. Nobody can appreciate
it more than I do. I am arguing fairly with you, and, I think,
utterly refuting you. Let us go on for another hour if you like.
DON JUAN. Good: let us.
THE STATUE. Not that I see any prospect of your coming to any
point in particular, Juan. Still, since in this place, instead of
merely killing time we have to kill eternity, go ahead by all
DON JUAN. [somewhat impatiently] My point, you marbleheaded old
masterpiece, is only a step ahead of you. Are we agreed that Life
is a force which has made innumerable experiments in organizing
itself; that the mammoth and the man, the mouse and the
megatherium, the flies and the fleas and the Fathers of the
Church, are all more or less successful attempts to build up that
raw force into higher and higher individuals, the ideal
individual being omnipotent, omniscient, infallible, and withal
completely, unilludedly self-conscious: in short, a god?
THE DEVIL. I agree, for the sake of argument.
THE STATUE. I agree, for the sake of avoiding argument.
ANA. I most emphatically disagree as regards the Fathers of the
Church; and I must beg you not to drag them into the argument.
DON JUAN. I did so purely for the sake of alliteration, Ana; and
I shall make no further allusion to them. And now, since we are,
with that exception, agreed so far, will you not agree with me
further that Life has not measured the success of its attempts at
godhead by the beauty or bodily perfection of the result, since
in both these respects the birds, as our friend Aristophanes long
ago pointed out, are so extraordinarily superior, with their
power of flight and their lovely plumage, and, may I add, the
touching poetry of their loves and nestings, that it is
inconceivable that Life, having once produced them, should, if
love and beauty were her object, start off on another line and
labor at the clumsy elephant and the hideous ape, whose
grandchildren we are?
ANA. Aristophanes was a heathen; and you, Juan, I am afraid, are
very little better.
THE DEVIL. You conclude, then, that Life was driving at
clumsiness and ugliness?
DON JUAN. No, perverse devil that you are, a thousand times no.
Life was driving at brains--at its darling object: an organ by
which it can attain not only self-consciousness but
THE STATUE. This is metaphysics, Juan. Why the devil should--[to
the Devil] I BEG your pardon.
THE DEVIL. Pray don't mention it. I have always regarded the use
of my name to secure additional emphasis as a high compliment to
me. It is quite at your service, Commander.
THE STATUE. Thank you: that's very good of you. Even in heaven, I
never quite got out of my old military habits of speech. What I
was going to ask Juan was why Life should bother itself about
getting a brain. Why should it want to understand itself? Why not
be content to enjoy itself?
DON JUAN. Without a brain, Commander, you would enjoy yourself
without knowing it, and so lose all the fun.
THE STATUE. True, most true. But I am quite content with brain
enough to know that I'm enjoying myself. I don't want to
understand why. In fact, I'd rather not. My experience is that
one's pleasures don't bear thinking about.
DON JUAN. That is why intellect is so unpopular. But to Life, the
force behind the Man, intellect is a necessity, because without
it he blunders into death. Just as Life, after ages of struggle,
evolved that wonderful bodily organ the eye, so that the living
organism could see where it was going and what was coming to help
or threaten it, and thus avoid a thousand dangers that formerly
slew it, so it is evolving to-day a mind's eye that shall see,
not the physical world, but the purpose of Life, and thereby
enable the individual to work for that purpose instead of
thwarting and baffling it by setting up shortsighted personal
aims as at present. Even as it is, only one sort of man has ever
been happy, has ever been universally respected among all the
conflicts of interests and illusions.
THE STATUE. You mean the military man.
DON JUAN. Commander: I do not mean the military man. When the
military man approaches, the world locks up its spoons and packs
off its womankind. No: I sing, not arms and the hero, but the,
philosophic man: he who seeks in contemplation to discover the
inner will of the world, in invention to discover the means of
fulfilling that will, and in action to do that will by the
so-discovered means. Of all other sorts of men I declare myself
tired. They're tedious failures. When I was on earth, professors
of all sorts prowled round me feeling for an unhealthy spot in me
on which they could fasten. The doctors of medicine bade me
consider what I must do to save my body, and offered me quack
cures for imaginary diseases. I replied that I was not a
hypochondriac; so they called me Ignoramus and went their way.
The doctors of divinity bade me consider what I must do to save
my soul; but I was not a spiritual hypochondriac any more than a
bodily one, and would not trouble myself about that either; so
they called me Atheist and went their way. After them came the
politician, who said there was only one purpose in Nature, and
that was to get him into parliament. I told him I did not care
whether he got into parliament or not; so he called me Mugwump
and went his way. Then came the romantic man, the Artist, with
his love songs and his paintings and his poems; and with him I
had great delight for many years, and some profit; for I
cultivated my senses for his sake; and his songs taught me to
hear better, his paintings to see better, and his poems to feel
more deeply. But he led me at last into the worship of Woman.
DON JUAN. Yes: I came to believe that in her voice was all the
music of the song, in her face all the beauty of the painting,
and in her soul all the emotion of the poem.
ANA. And you were disappointed, I suppose. Well, was it her fault
that you attributed all these perfections to her?
DON JUAN. Yes, partly. For with a wonderful instinctive cunning,
she kept silent and allowed me to glorify her; to mistake my own
visions, thoughts, and feelings for hers. Now my friend the
romantic man was often too poor or too timid to approach those
women who were beautiful or refined enough to seem to realize his
ideal; and so he went to his grave believing in his dream. But I
was more favored by nature and circumstance. I was of noble
birth and rich; and when my person did not please, my
conversation flattered, though I generally found myself
fortunate in both.
THE STATUE. Coxcomb!
DON JUAN. Yes; but even my coxcombry pleased. Well, I found that
when I had touched a woman's imagination, she would allow me to
persuade myself that she loved me; but when my suit was granted
she never said "I am happy: my love is satisfied": she always
said, first, "At last, the barriers are down," and second, "When
will you come again?"
ANA. That is exactly what men say.
DON JUAN. I protest I never said it. But all women say it. Well,
these two speeches always alarmed me; for the first meant that
the lady's impulse had been solely to throw down my
fortifications and gain my citadel; and the second openly
announced that henceforth she regarded me as her property, and
counted my time as already wholly at her disposal.
THE DEVIL. That is where your want of heart came in.
THE STATUE. [shaking his head] You shouldn't repeat what a woman
ANA. [severely] It should be sacred to you.
THE STATUE. Still, they certainly do always say it. I never
minded the barriers; but there was always a slight shock about
the other, unless one was very hard hit indeed.
DON JUAN. Then the lady, who had been happy and idle enough
before, became anxious, preoccupied with me, always intriguing,
conspiring, pursuing, watching, waiting, bent wholly on making
sure of her prey--I being the prey, you understand. Now this was
not what I had bargained for. It may have been very proper and
very natural; but it was not music, painting, poetry and joy
incarnated in a beautiful woman. I ran away from it. I ran away
from it very often: in fact I became famous for running away from
ANA. Infamous, you mean,
DON JUAN. I did not run away from you. Do you blame me for
running away from the others?
ANA. Nonsense, man. You are talking to a woman of 77 now. If you
had had the chance, you would have run away from me too--if I had
let you. You would not have found it so easy with me as with some
of the others. If men will not be faithful to their home and
their duties, they must be made to be. I daresay you all want to
marry lovely incarnations of music and painting and poetry. Well,
you can't have them, because they don't exist. If flesh and blood
is not good enough for you you must go without: that's all. Women
have to put up with flesh-and-blood husbands--and little enough
of that too, sometimes; and you will have to put up with
flesh-and-blood wives. The Devil looks dubious. The Statue makes
a wry face. I see you don't like that, any of you; but it's true,
for all that; so if you don't like it you can lump it.
DON JUAN. My dear lady, you have put my whole case against
romance into a few sentences. That is just why I turned my back
on the romantic man with the artist nature, as he called his
infatuation. I thanked him for teaching me to use my eyes and
ears; but I told him that his beauty worshipping and happiness
hunting and woman idealizing was not worth a dump as a philosophy
of life; so he called me Philistine and went his way.
ANA. It seems that Woman taught you something, too, with all her
DON JUAN. She did more: she interpreted all the other teaching
for me. Ah, my friends, when the barriers were down for the first
time, what an astounding illumination! I had been prepared for
infatuation, for intoxication, for all the illusions of love's
young dream; and lo! never was my perception clearer, nor my
criticism more ruthless. The most jealous rival of my mistress
never saw every blemish in her more keenly than I. I was not
duped: I took her without chloroform.
ANA. But you did take her.
DON JUAN. That was the revelation. Up to that moment I had never
lost the sense of being my own master; never consciously taken a
single step until my reason had examined and approved it. I had
come to believe that I was a purely rational creature: a thinker!
I said, with the foolish philosopher, "I think; therefore I am."
It was Woman who taught me to say "I am; therefore I think." And
also "I would think more; therefore I must be more."
THE STATUE. This is extremely abstract and metaphysical, Juan. If
you would stick to the concrete, and put your discoveries in the
form of entertaining anecdotes about your adventures with women,
your conversation would be easier to follow.
DON JUAN. Bah! what need I add? Do you not understand that when I
stood face to face with Woman, every fibre in my clear critical
brain warned me to spare her and save myself. My morals said No.
My conscience said No. My chivalry and pity for her said No. My
prudent regard for myself said No. My ear, practised on a
thousand songs and symphonies; my eye, exercised on a thousand
paintings; tore her voice, her features, her color to shreds. I
caught all those tell-tale resemblances to her father and mother
by which I knew what she would be like in thirty years time. I
noted the gleam of gold from a dead tooth in the laughing mouth:
I made curious observations of the strange odors of the chemistry
of the nerves. The visions of my romantic reveries, in which I
had trod the plains of heaven with a deathless, ageless creature
of coral and ivory, deserted me in that supreme hour. I
remembered them and desperately strove to recover their illusion;
but they now seemed the emptiest of inventions: my judgment was
not to be corrupted: my brain still said No on every issue. And
whilst I was in the act of framing my excuse to the lady, Life
seized me and threw me into her arms as a sailor throws a scrap
of fish into the mouth of a seabird.
THE STATUE. You might as well have gone without thinking such a
lot about it, Juan. You are like all the clever men: you have
more brains than is good for you.
THE DEVIL. And were you not the happier for the experience, Senor
DON JUAN. The happier, no: the wiser, yes. That moment introduced
me for the first time to myself, and, through myself, to the
world. I saw then how useless it is to attempt to impose
conditions on the irresistible force of Life; to preach prudence,
careful selection, virtue, honor, chastity--
ANA. Don Juan: a word against chastity is an insult to me.
DON JUAN. I say nothing against your chastity, Senora, since it
took the form of a husband and twelve children. What more could
you have done had you been the most abandoned of women?
ANA. I could have had twelve husbands and no children that's what
I could have done, Juan. And let me tell you that that would have
made all the difference to the earth which I replenished.
THE STATUE. Bravo Ana! Juan: you are floored, quelled,
DON JUAN. No; for though that difference is the true essential
difference--Dona Ana has, I admit, gone straight to the real
point--yet it is not a difference of love or chastity, or even
constancy; for twelve children by twelve different husbands would
have replenished the earth perhaps more effectively. Suppose my
friend Ottavio had died when you were thirty, you would never
have remained a widow: you were too beautiful. Suppose the
successor of Ottavio had died when you were forty, you would
still have been irresistible; and a woman who marries twice
marries three times if she becomes free to do so. Twelve lawful
children borne by one highly respectable lady to three different
fathers is not impossible nor condemned by public opinion. That
such a lady may be more law abiding than the poor girl whom we
used to spurn into the gutter for bearing one unlawful infant is
no doubt true; but dare you say she is less self-indulgent?
ANA. She is less virtuous: that is enough for me.
DON JUAN. In that case, what is virtue but the Trade Unionism of
the married? Let us face the facts, dear Ana. The Life Force
respects marriage only because marriage is a contrivance of its
own to secure the greatest number of children and the closest
care of them. For honor, chastity and all the rest of your moral
figments it cares not a rap. Marriage is the most licentious of
THE STATUE. [protesting] Really!--
DON JUAN. [determinedly] I say the most licentious of human
institutions: that is the secret of its popularity. And a woman
seeking a husband is the most unscrupulous of all the beasts of
prey. The confusion of marriage with morality has done more to
destroy the conscience of the human race than any other single
error. Come, Ana! do not look shocked: you know better than any
of us that marriage is a mantrap baited with simulated
accomplishments and delusive idealizations. When your sainted
mother, by dint of scoldings and punishments, forced you to learn
how to play half a dozen pieces on the spinet which she hated as
much as you did--had she any other purpose than to delude your
suitors into the belief that your husband would have in his home
an angel who would fill it with melody, or at least play him to
sleep after dinner? You married my friend Ottavio: well, did you
ever open the spinet from the hour when the Church united him to
ANA. You are a fool, Juan. A young married woman has something
else to do than sit at the spinet without any support for her
back; so she gets out of the habit of playing.
DON JUAN. Not if she loves music. No: believe me, she only throws
away the bait when the bird is in the net.
ANA. [bitterly] And men, I suppose, never throw off the mask when
their bird is in the net. The husband never becomes negligent,
selfish, brutal--oh never!
DON JUAN. What do these recriminations prove, Ana? Only that the
hero is as gross an imposture as the heroine.
ANA. It is all nonsense: most marriages are perfectly
DON JUAN. "Perfectly" is a strong expression, Ana. What you mean
is that sensible people make the best of one another. Send me to
the galleys and chain me to the felon whose number happens to be
next before mine; and I must accept the inevitable and make the
best of the companionship. Many such companionships, they tell
me, are touchingly affectionate; and most are at least tolerably
friendly. But that does not make a chain a desirable ornament nor
the galleys an abode of bliss. Those who talk most about the
blessings of marriage and the constancy of its vows are the very
people who declare that if the chain were broken and the
prisoners left free to choose, the whole social fabric would fly
asunder. You cannot have the argument both ways. If the prisoner
is happy, why lock him in? If he is not, why pretend that he is?
ANA. At all events, let me take an old woman's privilege again,
and tell you flatly that marriage peoples the world and
debauchery does not.
DON JUAN. How if a time comes when this shall cease to be true? Do
you not know that where there is a will there is a way--that
whatever Man really wishes to do he will finally discover a means
of doing? Well, you have done your best, you virtuous ladies, and
others of your way of thinking, to bend Man's mind wholly towards
honorable love as the highest good, and to understand by
honorable love romance and beauty and happiness in the possession
of beautiful, refined, delicate, affectionate women. You have
taught women to value their own youth, health, shapeliness, and
refinement above all things. Well, what place have squalling
babies and household cares in this exquisite paradise of the
senses and emotions? Is it not the inevitable end of it all that
the human will shall say to the human brain: Invent me a means by
which I can have love, beauty, romance, emotion, passion without
their wretched penalties, their expenses, their worries, their
trials, their illnesses and agonies and risks of death, their
retinue of servants and nurses and doctors and schoolmasters.
THE DEVIL. All this, Senor Don Juan, is realized here in my
DON JUAN. Yes, at the cost of death. Man will not take it at that
price: he demands the romantic delights of your hell whilst he is
still on earth. Well, the means will be found: the brain will not
fail when the will is in earnest. The day is coming when great
nations will find their numbers dwindling from census to census;
when the six roomed villa will rise in price above the family
mansion; when the viciously reckless poor and the stupidly pious
rich will delay the extinction of the race only by degrading it;
whilst the boldly prudent, the thriftily selfish and ambitious,
the imaginative and poetic, the lovers of money and solid
comfort, the worshippers of success, art, and of love, will all
oppose to the Force of Life the device of sterility.
THE STATUE. That is all very eloquent, my young friend; but if
you had lived to Ana's age, or even to mine, you would have
learned that the people who get rid of the fear of poverty and
children and all the other family troubles, and devote themselves
to having a good time of it, only leave their minds free for the
fear of old age and ugliness and impotence and death. The
childless laborer is more tormented by his wife's idleness and
her constant demands for amusement and distraction than he could
be by twenty children; and his wife is more wretched than he. I
have had my share of vanity; for as a young man I was admired by
women; and as a statue I am praised by art critics. But I confess
that had I found nothing to do in the world but wallow in these
delights I should have cut my throat. When I married Ana's
mother--or perhaps, to be strictly correct, I should rather say
when I at last gave in and allowed Ana's mother to marry me--I
knew that I was planting thorns in my pillow, and that marriage
for me, a swaggering young officer thitherto unvanquished, meant
defeat and capture.
ANA. [scandalized] Father!
THE STATUE. I am sorry to shock you, my love; but since Juan has
stripped every rag of decency from the discussion I may as well
tell the frozen truth.
ANA. Hmf! I suppose I was one of the thorns.
THE STATUE. By no means: you were often a rose. You see, your
mother had most of the trouble you gave.
DON JUAN. Then may I ask, Commander, why you have left Heaven to
come here and wallow, as you express it, in sentimental
beatitudes which you confess would once have driven you to cut
THE STATUE. [struck by this] Egad, that's true.
THE DEVIL. [alarmed] What! You are going back from your word. [To
Don Juan] And all your philosophizing has been nothing but a mask
for proselytizing! [To the Statue] Have you forgotten already the
hideous dulness from which I am offering you a refuge here? [To
Don Juan] And does your demonstration of the approaching
sterilization and extinction of mankind lead to anything better
than making the most of those pleasures of art and love which you
yourself admit refined you, elevated you, developed you?
DON JUAN. I never demonstrated the extinction of mankind. Life
cannot will its own extinction either in its blind amorphous
state or in any of the forms into which it has organized itself.
I had not finished when His Excellency interrupted me.
THE STATUE. I begin to doubt whether you ever will finish, my
friend. You are extremely fond of hearing yourself talk.
DON JUAN. True; but since you have endured so much. you may as
well endure to the end. Long before this sterilization which I
described becomes more than a clearly foreseen possibility, the
reaction will begin. The great central purpose of breeding the
race, ay, breeding it to heights now deemed superhuman: that
purpose which is now hidden in a mephitic cloud of love and
romance and prudery and fastidiousness, will break through into
clear sunlight as a purpose no longer to be confused with the
gratification of personal fancies, the impossible realization of
boys' and girls' dreams of bliss, or the need of older people for
companionship or money. The plain-spoken marriage services of the
vernacular Churches will no longer be abbreviated and half
suppressed as indelicate. The sober decency, earnestness and
authority of their declaration of the real purpose of marriage
will be honored and accepted, whilst their romantic vowings and
pledgings and until-death-do-us-partings and the like will be
expunged as unbearable frivolities. Do my sex the justice to
admit, Senora, that we have always recognized that the sex
relation is not a personal or friendly relation at all.
ANA. Not a personal or friendly relation! What relation is more
personal? more sacred? more holy?
DON JUAN. Sacred and holy, if you like, Ana, but not personally
friendly. Your relation to God is sacred and holy: dare you call
it personally friendly? In the sex relation the universal
creative energy, of which the parties are both the helpless
agents, over-rides and sweeps away all personal considerations
and dispenses with all personal relations. The pair may be utter
strangers to one another, speaking different languages, differing
in race and color, in age and disposition, with no bond between
them but a possibility of that fecundity for the sake of which
the Life Force throws them into one another's arms at the
exchange of a glance. Do we not recognize this by allowing
marriages to be made by parents without consulting the woman?
Have you not often expressed your disgust at the immorality of
the English nation, in which women and men of noble birth become
acquainted and court each other like peasants? And how much does
even the peasant know of his bride or she of him before he
engages himself? Why, you would not make a man your lawyer or
your family doctor on so slight an acquaintance as you would fall
in love with and marry him!
ANA. Yes, Juan: we know the libertine's philosophy. Always ignore
the consequences to the woman.
DON JUAN. The consequences, yes: they justify her fierce grip of
the man. But surely you do not call that attachment a sentimental
one. As well call the policeman's attachment to his prisoner a
ANA. You see you have to confess that marriage is necessary,
though, according to you, love is the slightest of all the
DON JUAN. How do you know that it is not the greatest of all the
relations? far too great to be a personal matter. Could your
father have served his country if he had refused to kill any
enemy of Spain unless he personally hated him? Can a woman serve
her country if she refuses to marry any man she does not
personally love? You know it is not so: the woman of noble birth
marries as the man of noble birth fights, on political and family
grounds, not on personal ones.
THE STATUE. [impressed] A very clever point that, Juan: I must
think it over. You are really full of ideas. How did you come to
think of this one?
DON JUAN. I learnt it by experience. When I was on earth, and
made those proposals to ladies which, though universally
condemned, have made me so interesting a hero of legend, I was
not infrequently met in some such way as this. The lady would say
that she would countenance my advances, provided they were
honorable. On inquiring what that proviso meant, I found that it
meant that I proposed to get possession of her property if she
had any, or to undertake her support for life if she had not;
that I desired her continual companionship, counsel and
conversation to the end of my days, and would bind myself
under penalties to be always enraptured by them; and, above all,
that I would turn my back on all other women for ever for her
sake. I did not object to these conditions because they were
exorbitant and inhuman: it was their extraordinary irrelevance
that prostrated me. I invariably replied with perfect frankness
that I had never dreamt of any of these things; that unless the
lady's character and intellect were equal or superior to my own,
her conversation must degrade and her counsel mislead me; tha t
her constant companionship might, for all I knew, become
intolerably tedious to me; that I could not answer for my
feelings for a week in advance, much less to the end of my life;
that to cut me off from all natural and unconstrained relations
with the rest of my fellow creatures would narrow and warp me if
I submitted to it, and, if not, would bring me under the curse of
clandestinity; that, finally, my proposals to her were wholly
unconnected with any of these matters, and were the outcome of a
perfectly simple impulse of my manhood towards her womanhood.
ANA. You mean that it was an immoral impulse.
DON JUAN. Nature, my dear lady, is what you call immoral. I blush
for it; but I cannot help it. Nature is a pandar, Time a wrecker,
and Death a murderer. I have always preferred to stand up to
those facts and build institutions on their recognition. You
prefer to propitiate the three devils by proclaiming their
chastity, their thrift, and their loving kindness; and to base
your institutions on these flatteries. Is it any wonder that the
institutions do not work smoothly?
THE STATUE. What used the ladies to say, Juan?
DON JUAN. Oh, come! Confidence for confidence. First tell me what
you used to say to the ladies.
THE STATUE. I! Oh, I swore that I would be faithful to the death;
that I should die if they refused me; that no woman could ever be
to me what she was--
ANA. She? Who?
THE STATUE. Whoever it happened to be at the time, my dear. I had
certain things I always said. One of them was that even when I
was eighty, one white hair of the woman I loved would make me
tremble more than the thickest gold tress from the most beautiful
young head. Another was that I could not bear the thought of
anyone else being the mother of my children.
DON JUAN. [revolted] You old rascal!
THE STATUE. [Stoutly] Not a bit; for I really believed it with
all my soul at the moment. I had a heart: not like you. And it
was this sincerity that made me successful.
DON JUAN. Sincerity! To be fool enough to believe a ramping,
stamping, thumping lie: that is what you call sincerity! To be so
greedy for a woman that you deceive yourself in your eagerness to
deceive her: sincerity, you call it!
THE STATUE. Oh, damn your sophistries! I was a man in love, not a
lawyer. And the women loved me for it, bless them!
DON JUAN. They made you think so. What will you say when I tell
you that though I played the lawyer so callously, they made me
think so too? I also had my moments of infatuation in which I
gushed nonsense and believed it. Sometimes the desire to give
pleasure by saying beautiful things so rose in me on the flood of
emotion that I said them recklessly. At other times I argued
against myself with a devilish coldness that drew tears. But I
found it just as hard to escape in the one case as in the others.
When the lady's instinct was set on me, there was nothing for it
but lifelong servitude or flight.
ANA. You dare boast, before me and my father, that every woman
found you irresistible.
DON JUAN. Am I boasting? It seems to me that I cut the most
pitiable of figures. Besides, I said "when the lady's instinct
was set on me." It was not always so; and then, heavens! what
transports of virtuous indignation! what overwhelming defiance to
the dastardly seducer! what scenes of Imogen and Iachimo!
ANA. I made no scenes. I simply called my father.
DON JUAN. And he came, sword in hand, to vindicate outraged honor
and morality by murdering me.
THE STATUE. Murdering! What do you mean? Did I kill you or did
you kill me?
DON JUAN. Which of us was the better fencer?
THE STATUE. I was.
DON JUAN. Of course you were. And yet you, the hero of those
scandalous adventures you have just been relating to us, you had
the effrontery to pose as the avenger of outraged morality and
condemn me to death! You would have slain me but for an accident.
THE STATUE. I was expected to, Juan. That is how things were
arranged on earth. I was not a social reformer; and I always did
what it was customary for a gentleman to do.
DON JUAN. That may account for your attacking me, but not for the
revolting hypocrisy of your subsequent proceedings as a statue.
THE STATUE. That all came of my going to Heaven.
THE DEVIL. I still fail to see, Senor Don Juan, that these
episodes in your earthly career and in that of the Senor
Commander in any way discredit my view of life. Here, I repeat,
you have all that you sought without anything that you shrank
DON JUAN. On the contrary, here I have everything that
disappointed me without anything that I have not already tried
and found wanting. I tell you that as long as I can conceive
something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am
striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it.
That is the law of my life. That is the working within me of
Life's incessant aspiration to higher organization, wider,
deeper, intenser self-consciousness, and clearer
self-understanding. It was the supremacy of this purpose that
reduced love for me to the mere pleasure of a moment, art for me
to the mere schooling of my faculties, religion for me to a mere
excuse for laziness, since it had set up a God who looked at the
world and saw that it was good, against the instinct in me that
looked through my eyes at the world and saw that it could be
improved. I tell you that in the pursuit of my own pleasure, my
own health, my own fortune, I have never known happiness. It was
not love for Woman that delivered me into her hands: it was
fatigue, exhaustion. When I was a child, and bruised my head
against a stone, I ran to the nearest woman and cried away my
pain against her apron. When I grew up, and bruised my soul
against the brutalities and stupidities with which I had to
strive, I did again just what I had done as a child. I have
enjoyed, too, my rests, my recuperations, my breathing times, my
very prostrations after strife; but rather would I be dragged
through all the circles of the foolish Italian's Inferno than
through the pleasures of Europe. That is what has made this place
of eternal pleasures so deadly to me. It is the absence of this
instinct in you that makes you that strange monster called a
Devil. It is the success with which you have diverted the
attention of men from their real purpose, which in one degree or
another is the same as mine, to yours, that has earned you the
name of The Tempter. It is the fact that they are doing your
will, or rather drifting with your want of will, instead of doing
their own, that makes them the uncomfortable, false, restless,
artificial, petulant, wretched creatures they are.
THE DEVIL. [mortified] Senor Don Juan: you are uncivil to my
DON JUAN. Pooh! why should I be civil to them or to you? In this
Palace of Lies a truth or two will not hurt you. Your friends are
all the dullest dogs I know. They are not beautiful: they are
only decorated. They are not clean: they are only shaved and
starched. They are not dignified: they are only fashionably
dressed. They are not educated they are only college passmen.
They are not religious: they are only pewrenters. They are not
moral: they are only conventional. They are not virtuous: they
are only cowardly. They are not even vicious: they are only
"frail." They are not artistic: they are only lascivious. They
are not prosperous: they are only rich. They are not loyal, they
are only servile; not dutiful, only sheepish; not public
spirited, only patriotic; not courageous, only quarrelsome; not
determined, only obstinate; not masterful, only domineering; not
self-controlled, only obtuse; not self-respecting, only vain; not
kind, only sentimental; not social, only gregarious; not
considerate, only polite; not intelligent, only opinionated; not
progressive, only factious; not imaginative, only superstitious;
not just, only vindictive; not generous, only propitiatory; not
disciplined, only cowed; and not truthful at all--liars every one
of them, to the very backbone of their souls.
THE STATUE. Your flow of words is simply amazing, Juan. How I
wish I could have talked like that to my soldiers.
THE DEVIL. It is mere talk, though. It has all been said before;
but what change has it ever made? What notice has the world ever
taken of it?
DON JUAN. Yes, it is mere talk. But why is it mere talk? Because,
my friend, beauty, purity, respectability, religion, morality,
art, patriotism, bravery and the rest are nothing but words which
I or anyone else can turn inside out like a glove. Were they
realities, you would have to plead guilty to my indictment; but
fortunately for your self-respect, my diabolical friend, they are
not realities. As you say, they are mere words, useful for duping
barbarians into adopting civilization, or the civilized poor into
submitting to be robbed and enslaved. That is the family secret
of the governing caste; and if we who are of that caste aimed at
more Life for the world instead of at more power and luxury for
our miserable selves, that secret would make us great. Now, since
I, being a nobleman, am in the secret too, think how tedious to
me must be your unending cant about all these moralistic
figments, and how squalidly disastrous your sacrifice of your
lives to them! If you even believed in your moral game enough to
play it fairly, it would be interesting to watch; but you don't:
you cheat at every trick; and if your opponent outcheats you, you
upset the table and try to murder him.
THE DEVIL. On earth there may be some truth in this, because the
people are uneducated and cannot appreciate my religion of love
and beauty; but here--
DON JUAN. Oh yes: I know. Here there is nothing but love and
beauty. Ugh! it is like sitting for all eternity at the first act
of a fashionable play, before the complications begin. Never in
my worst moments of superstitious terror on earth did I dream
that Hell was so horrible. I live, like a hairdresser, in the
continual contemplation of beauty, toying with silken tresses. I
breathe an atmosphere of sweetness, like a confectioner's
shopboy. Commander: are there any beautiful women in Heaven?
THE STATUE. None. Absolutely none. All dowdies. Not two pennorth
of jewellery among a dozen of them. They might be men of fifty.
DON JUAN. I am impatient to get there. Is the word beauty ever
mentioned; and are there any artistic people?
THE STATUE. I give you my word they won't admire a fine statue
even when it walks past them.
DON JUAN. I go.
THE DEVIL. Don Juan: shall I be frank with you?
DON JUAN. Were you not so before?
THE DEVIL. As far as I went, yes. But I will now go further, and
confess to you that men get tired of everything, of heaven no
less than of hell; and that all history is nothing but a record
of the oscillations of the world between these two extremes. An
epoch is but a swing of the pendulum; and each generation thinks
the world is progressing because it is always moving. But when
you are as old as I am; when you have a thousand times wearied of
heaven, like myself and the Commander, and a thousand times
wearied of hell, as you are wearied now, you will no longer
imagine that every swing from heaven to hell is an emancipation,
every swing from hell to heaven an evolution. Where you now see
reform, progress, fulfilment of upward tendency, continual ascent
by Man on the stepping stones of his dead selves to higher
things, you will see nothing but an infinite comedy of illusion.
You will discover the profound truth of the saying of my friend
Koheleth, that there is nothing new under the sun. Vanitas
DON JUAN. [out of all patience] By Heaven, this is worse than
your cant about love and beauty. Clever dolt that you are, is a
man no better than a worm, or a dog than a wolf, because he gets
tired of everything? Shall he give up eating because he destroys
his appetite in the act of gratifying it? Is a field idle when it
is fallow? Can the Commander expend his hellish energy here
without accumulating heavenly energy for his next term of
blessedness? Granted that the great Life Force has hit on the
device of the clockmaker's pendulum, and uses the earth for its
bob; that the history of each oscillation, which seems so novel
to us the actors, is but the history of the last oscillation
repeated; nay more, that in the unthinkable infinitude of time
the sun throws off the earth and catches it again a thousand
times as a circus rider throws up a ball, and that the total
of all our epochs is but the moment between the toss and the
catch, has the colossal mechanism no purpose?
THE DEVIL. None, my friend. You think, because you have a
purpose, Nature must have one. You might as well expect it to
have fingers and toes because you have them.
DON JUAN. But I should not have them if they served no purpose.
And I, my friend, am as much a part of Nature as my own finger is
a part of me. If my finger is the organ by which I grasp the
sword and the mandoline, my brain is the organ by which Nature
strives to understand itself. My dog's brain serves only my dog's
purposes; but my brain labors at a knowledge which does nothing
for me personally but make my body bitter to me and my decay and
death a calamity. Were I not possessed with a purpose beyond my
own I had better be a ploughman than a philosopher; for the
ploughman lives as long as the philosopher, eats more, sleeps
better, and rejoices in the wife of his bosom with less
misgiving. This is because the philosopher is in the grip of the
Life Force. This Life Force says to him "I have done a thousand
wonderful things unconsciously by merely willing to live and
following the line of least resistance: now I want to know myself
and my destination, and choose my path; so I have made a special
brain--a philosopher's brain--to grasp this knowledge for me as
the husbandman's hand grasps the plough for me. "And this" says
the Life Force to the philosopher "must thou strive to do for me
until thou diest, when I will make another brain and another
philosopher to carry on the work."
THE DEVIL. What is the use of knowing?
DON JUAN. Why, to be able to choose the line of greatest
advantage instead of yielding in the direction of the least
resistance. Does a ship sail to its destination no better than a
log drifts nowhither? The philosopher is Nature's pilot. And
there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift: to be
in heaven is to steer.
THE DEVIL. On the rocks, most likely.
DON JUAN. Pooh! which ship goes oftenest on the rocks or to the
bottom--the drifting ship or the ship with a pilot on board?
THE DEVIL. Well, well, go your way, Senor Don Juan. I prefer to
be my own master and not the tool of any blundering universal
force. I know that beauty is good to look at; that music is good
to hear; that love is good to feel; and that they are all good to
think about and talk about. I know that to be well exercised in
these sensations, emotions, and studies is to be a refined and
cultivated being. Whatever they may say of me in churches on
earth, I know that it is universally admitted in good society
that the prince of Darkness is a gentleman; and that is enough
for me. As to your Life Force, which you think irresistible, it
is the most resistible thing in the world for a person of any
character. But if you are naturally vulgar and credulous, as all
reformers are, it will thrust you first into religion, where you
will sprinkle water on babies to save their souls from me; then
it will drive you from religion into science, where you will
snatch the babies from the water sprinkling and inoculate them
with disease to save them from catching it accidentally; then you
will take to politics, where you will become the catspaw of
corrupt functionaries and the henchman of ambitious humbugs; and
the end will be despair and decrepitude, broken nerve and
shattered hopes, vain regrets for that worst and silliest of
wastes and sacrifices, the waste and sacrifice of the power of
enjoyment: in a word, the punishment of the fool who pursues the
better before he has secured the good.
DON JUAN. But at least I shall not be bored. The service of the
Life Force has that advantage, at all events. So fare you well,
THE DEVIL. [amiably] Fare you well, Don Juan. I shall often think
of our interesting chats about things in general. I wish you
every happiness: Heaven, as I said before, suits some people. But
if you should change your mind, do not forget that the gates are
always open here to the repentant prodigal. If you feel at any
time that warmth of heart, sincere unforced affection, innocent
enjoyment, and warm, breathing, palpitating reality--
DON JUAN. Why not say flesh and blood at once, though we have
left those two greasy commonplaces behind us?
THE DEVIL. [angrily] You throw my friendly farewell back in my
teeth, then, Don Juan?
DON JUAN. By no means. But though there is much to be learnt from
a cynical devil, I really cannot stand a sentimental one. Senor
Commander: you know the way to the frontier of hell and heaven.
Be good enough to direct me.
THE STATUE. Oh, the frontier is only the difference between two
ways of looking at things. Any road will take you across it if
you really want to get there.
DON JUAN. Good. [saluting Dona Ana] Senora: your servant.
ANA. But I am going with you.
DON JUAN. I can find my own way to heaven, Ana; but I cannot find
yours [he vanishes].
ANA. How annoying!
THE STATUE. [calling after him] Bon voyage, Juan! [He wafts a
final blast of his great rolling chords after him as a parting
salute. A faint echo of the first ghostly melody comes back in
acknowledgment]. Ah! there he goes. [Puffing a long breath out
through his lips] Whew! How he does talk! They'll never stand it
THE DEVIL. [gloomily] His going is a political defeat. I cannot
keep these Life Worshippers: they all go. This is the greatest
loss I have had since that Dutch painter went--a fellow who would
paint a hag of 70 with as much enjoyment as a Venus of 20.
THE STATUE. I remember: he came to heaven. Rembrandt.
THE DEVIL. Ay, Rembrandt. There a something unnatural about these
fellows. Do not listen to their gospel, Senor Commander: it is
dangerous. Beware of the pursuit of the Superhuman: it leads to
an indiscriminate contempt for the Human. To a man, horses and
dogs and cats are mere species, outside the moral world. Well, to
the Superman, men and women are a mere species too, also outside
the moral world. This Don Juan was kind to women and courteous to
men as your daughter here was kind to her pet cats and dogs; but
such kindness is a denial of the exclusively human character of
THE STATUE. And who the deuce is the Superman?
THE DEVIL. Oh, the latest fashion among the Life Force fanatics.
Did you not meet in Heaven, among the new arrivals, that German
Polish madman--what was his name? Nietzsche?
THE STATUE. Never heard of him.
THE DEVIL. Well, he came here first, before he recovered his
wits. I had some hopes of him; but he was a confirmed Life Force
worshipper. It was he who raked up the Superman, who is as old as
Prometheus; and the 20th century will run after this newest of
the old crazes when it gets tired of the world, the flesh, and
your humble servant.
THE STATUE. Superman is a good cry; and a good cry is half the
battle. I should like to see this Nietzsche.
THE DEVIL. Unfortunately he met Wagner here, and had a quarrel
THE STATUE. Quite right, too. Mozart for me!
THE DEVIL. Oh, it was not about music. Wagner once drifted into
Life Force worship, and invented a Superman called Siegfried. But
he came to his senses afterwards. So when they met here,
Nietzsche denounced him as a renegade; and Wagner wrote a pamphlet
to prove that Nietzsche was a Jew; and it ended in Nietzsche's
going to heaven in a huff. And a good riddance too. And now, my
friend, let us hasten to my palace and celebrate your arrival with
a grand musical service.
THE STATUE. With pleasure: you're most kind.
THE DEVIL. This way, Commander. We go down the old trap [he
places himself on the grave trap].
THE STATUE. Good. [Reflectively] All the same, the Superman is a
fine conception. There is something statuesque about it. [He
places himself on the grave trap beside The Devil. It begins to
descend slowly. Red glow from the abyss]. Ah, this reminds me of
THE DEVIL. And me also.
ANA. Stop! [The trap stops].
THE DEVIL. You, Senora, cannot come this way. You will have an
apotheosis. But you will be at the palace before us.
ANA. That is not what I stopped you for. Tell me where can I find
THE DEVIL. He is not yet created, Senora.
THE STATUE. And never will be, probably. Let us proceed: the red
fire will make me sneeze. [They descend].
ANA. Not yet created! Then my work is not yet done. [Crossing
herself devoutly] I believe in the Life to Come. [Crying to the
universe] A father--a father for the Superman!
She vanishes into the void; and again there is nothing: all
existence seems suspended infinitely. Then, vaguely, there is a
live human voice crying somewhere. One sees, with a shock, a
mountain peak showing faintly against a lighter background. The
sky has returned from afar; and we suddenly remember where we
were. The cry becomes distinct and urgent: it says Automobile,
Automobile. The complete reality comes back with a rush: in a
moment it is full morning in the Sierra; and the brigands are
scrambling to their feet and making for the road as the goatherd
runs down from the hill, warning them of the approach of another
motor. Tanner and Mendoza rise amazedly and stare at one another
with scattered wits. Straker sits up to yawn for a moment before
he gets on his feet, making it a point of honor not to show any
undue interest in the excitement of the bandits. Mendoza gives a
quick look to see that his followers are attending to the alarm;
then exchanges a private word with Tanner.
MENDOZA. Did you dream?
TANNER. Damnably. Did you?
MENDOZA. Yes. I forget what. You were in it.
TANNER. So were you. Amazing
MENDOZA. I warned you. [a shot is heard from the road]. Dolts!
they will play with that gun. [The brigands come running back
scared]. Who fired that shot? [to Duval] Was it you?
DUVAL. [breathless] I have not shoot. Dey shoot first.
ANARCHIST. I told you to begin by abolishing the State. Now we
are all lost.
THE ROWDY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [stampeding across the amphitheatre]
MENDOZA. [collaring him; throwing him on his back; and drawing a
knife] I stab the man who stirs. [He blocks the way. The stampede
it checked]. What has happened?
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT, A motor--
THE ANARCHIST. Three men--
DUVAL. Deux femmes--
MENDOZA. Three men and two women! Why have you not brought them
here? Are you afraid of them?
THE ROWDY ONE. [getting up] Thyve a hescort. Ow, de-ooh lut's ook
THE SULKY ONE. Two armored cars full o soldiers at the end o the
ANARCHIST. The shot was fired in the air. It was a signal.
Straker whistles his favorite air, which falls on the ears of the
brigands like a funeral march.
TANNER. It is not an escort, but an expedition to capture you. We
were advised to wait for it; but I was in a hurry.
THE ROWDY ONE. [in an agony of apprehension] And Ow my good Lord,
ere we are, wytin for em! Lut's tike to the mahntns.
MENDOZA. Idiot, what do you know about the mountains? Are you a
Spaniard? You would be given up by the first shepherd you met.
Besides, we are already within range of their rifles.
THE ROWDY ONE. Bat--
MENDOZA. Silence. Leave this to me. [To Tanner] Comrade: you will
not betray us.
STRAKER. Oo are you callin comrade?
MENDOZA. Last night the advantage was with me. The robber of the
poor was at the mercy of the robber of the rich. You offered your
hand: I took it.
TANNER. I bring no charge against you, comrade. We have spent a
pleasant evening with you: that is all.
STRAKER. I gev my and to nobody, see?
MENDOZA. [turning on him impressively] Young man, if I am tried,
I shall plead guilty, and explain what drove me from England, home
and duty. Do you wish to have the respectable name of Straker
dragged through the mud of a Spanish criminal court? The police
will search me. They will find Louisa's portrait. It will be
published in the illustrated papers. You blench. It will be your
STRAKER. [with baffled rage] I don't care about the court. It's
avin our name mixed up with yours that I object to, you
blackmailin swine, you.
MENDOZA. Language unworthy of Louisa's brother! But no matter:
you are muzzled: that is enough for us. [He turns to face his own
men, who back uneasily across the amphitheatre towards the cave
to take refuge behind him, as a fresh party, muffled for
motoring, comes from the road in riotous spirits. Ann, who makes
straight for Tanner, comes first; then Violet, helped over the
rough ground by Hector holding her right hand and Ramsden her
left. Mendoza goes to his presidential block and seats himself
calmly with his rank and file grouped behind him, and his Staff,
consisting of Duval and the Anarchist on his right and the two
Social-Democrats on his left, supporting him in flank].
ANN. It's Jack!
HECTOR. Why, certainly it is. I said it was you, Tanner, We've
just been stopped by a puncture: the road is full of nails.
VIOLET. What are you doing here with all these men?
ANN. Why did you leave us without a word of warning?
HECTOR. I want that bunch of roses, Miss Whitefield. [To Tanner]
When we found you were gone, Miss Whitefield bet me a bunch of
roses my car would not overtake yours before you reached Monte
TANNER. But this is not the road to Monte Carlo.
HECTOR. No matter. Miss Whitefield tracked you at every stopping
place: she is a regular Sherlock Holmes.
TANNER. The Life Force! I am lost.
OCTAVIUS. [Bounding gaily down from the road into the
amphitheatre, and coming between Tanner and Straker] I am so glad
you are safe, old chap. We were afraid you had been captured by
RAMSDEN. [who has been staring at Mendoza] I seem to remember the
face of your friend here. [Mendoza rises politely and advances
with a smile between Ann and Ramsden].
HECTOR. Why, so do I.
OCTAVIUS. I know you perfectly well, Sir; but I can't think where
I have met you.
MENDOZA. [to Violet] Do YOU remember me, madam?
VIOLET. Oh, quite well; but I am so stupid about names.
MENDOZA. It was at the Savoy Hotel. [To Hector] You, sir, used to
come with this lady [Violet] to lunch. [To Octavius] You, sir,
often brought this lady [Ann] and her mother to dinner on your
way to the Lyceum Theatre. [To Ramsden] You, sir, used to come to
supper, with [dropping his voice to a confidential but perfectly
audible whisper] several different ladies.
RAMSDEN. [angrily] Well, what is that to you, pray?
OCTAVIUS. Why, Violet, I thought you hardly knew one another
before this trip, you and Malone!
VIOLET. [vexed] I suppose this person was the manager.
MENDOZA. The waiter, madam. I have a grateful recollection of you
all. I gathered from the bountiful way in which you treated me
that you all enjoyed your visits very much.
VIOLET. What impertinence! [She turns her back on him, and goes
up the hill with Hector].
RAMSDEN. That will do, my friend. You do not expect these ladies
to treat you as an acquaintance, I suppose, because you have
waited on them at table.
MENDOZA. Pardon me: it was you who claimed my acquaintance. The
ladies followed your example. However, this display of the
unfortunate manners of your class closes the incident. For the
future, you will please address me with the respect due to a
stranger and fellow traveller. [He turns haughtily away and
resumes his presidential seat].
TANNER. There! I have found one man on my journey capable of
reasonable conversation; and you all instinctively insult him.
Even the New Man is as bad as any of you. Enry: you have behaved
just like a miserable gentleman.
STRAKER. Gentleman! Not me.
RAMSDEN. Really, Tanner, this tone--
ANN. Don't mind him, Granny: you ought to know him by this time
[she takes his arm and coaxes him away to the hill to join Violet
and Hector. Octavius follows her, doglike].
VIOLET. [calling from the hill] Here are the soldiers. They are
getting out of their motors.
DUVAL. [panicstricken] Oh, nom de Dieu!
THE ANARCHIST. Fools: the State is about to crush you because you
spared it at the prompting of the political hangers-on of the
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [argumentative to the last] On the
contrary, only by capturing the State machine--
THE ANARCHIST. It is going to capture you.
THE ROWDY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [his anguish culminating] Ow, chock
it. Wot are we ere for? WOT are we wytin for?
MENDOZA. [between his teeth] Goon. Talk politics, you idiots:
nothing sounds more respectable. Keep it up, I tell you.
The soldiers line the road, commanding the amphitheatre with
their rifles. The brigands, struggling with an over-whelming
impulse to hide behind one another, look as unconcerned as they
can. Mendoza rises superbly, with undaunted front. The officer
in command steps down from the road in to the amphitheatre;
looks hard at the brigands; and then inquiringly at Tanner.
THE OFFICER. Who are these men, Senor Ingles?
TANNER. My escort.
Mendoza, with a Mephistophelean smile, bows profoundly. An
irrepressible grin runs from face to face among the brigands. They
touch their hats, except the Anarchist, who defies the State with
The garden of a villa in Granada. Whoever wishes to know what it
is like must go to Granada and see. One may prosaically specify a
group of hills dotted with villas, the Alhambra on the top of one
of the hills, and a considerable town in the valley, approached
by dusty white roads in which the children, no matter what they
are doing or thinking about, automatically whine for halfpence
and reach out little clutching brown palms for them; but there is
nothing in this description except the A1hambra, the begging, and
the color of the roads, that does not fit Surrey as well as
Spain. The difference is that the Surrey hills are comparatively
small and ugly, and should properly be called the Surrey
Protuberances; but these Spanish hills are of mountain stock: the
amenity which conceals their size does not compromise their
This particular garden is on a hill opposite the Alhambra; and
the villa is as expensive and pretentious as a villa must be if
it is to be let furnished by the week to opulent American and
English visitors. If we stand on the lawn at the foot of the
garden and look uphill, our horizon is the stone balustrade of a
flagged platform on the edge of infinite space at the top of the
hill. Between us and this platform is a flower garden with a
circular basin and fountain in the centre, surrounded by
geometrical flower beds, gravel paths, and clipped yew trees in
the genteelest order. The garden is higher than our lawn; so we
reach it by a few steps in the middle of its embankment. The
platform is higher again than the garden, from which we mount a
couple more steps to look over the balustrade at a fine view of
the town up the valley and of the hills that stretch away beyond
it to where, in the remotest distance, they become mountains. On
our left is the villa, accessible by steps from the left hand
corner of the garden. Returning from the platform through the
garden and down again to the lawn (a movement which leaves the
villa behind us on our right) we find evidence of literary
interests on the part of the tenants in the fact that there is no
tennis net nor set of croquet hoops, but, on our left, a little
iron garden table with books on it, mostly yellow-backed, and a
chair beside it. A chair on the right has also a couple of open
books upon it. There are no newspapers, a circumstance which,
with the absence of games, might lead an intelligent spectator to
the most far reaching conclusions as to the sort of people who
live in the villa. Such speculations are checked, however, on
this delightfully fine afternoon, by the appearance at a little
gate in a paling an our left, of Henry Straker in his
professional costume. He opens the gate for an elderly gentleman,
and follows him on to the lawn.
This elderly gentleman defies the Spanish sun in a black frock
coat, tall silk bat, trousers in which narrow stripes of dark
grey and lilac blend into a highly respectable color, and a black
necktie tied into a bow over spotless linen. Probably therefore a
man whose social position needs constant and scrupulous
affirmation without regard to climate: one who would dress thus
for the middle of the Sahara or the top of Mont Blanc. And since
he has not the stamp of the class which accepts as its
life-mission the advertizing and maintenance of first rate
tailoring and millinery, he looks vulgar in his finery, though in
a working dress of any kind he would look dignified enough. He is
a bullet cheeked man with a red complexion, stubbly hair,
smallish eyes, a hard mouth that folds down at the corners, and a
dogged chin. The looseness of skin that comes with age has
attacked his throat and the laps of his cheeks; but he is still
hard as an apple above the mouth; so that the upper half of his
face looks younger than the lower. He has the self-confidence of
one who has made money, and something of the truculence of one
who has made it in a brutalizing struggle, his civility having
under it a perceptible menace that he has other methods in
reserve if necessary. Withal, a man to be rather pitied when he
is not to be feared; for there is something pathetic about him at
times, as if the huge commercial machine which has worked him
into his frock coat had allowed him very little of his own way
and left his affections hungry and baffled. At the first word
that falls from him it is clear that he is an Irishman whose
native intonation has clung to him through many changes of place
and rank. One can only guess that the original material of his
speech was perhaps the surly Kerry brogue; but the degradation of
speech that occurs in London, Glasgow, Dublin and big cities
generally has been at work on it so long that nobody but an
arrant cockney would dream of calling it a brogue now; for its
music is almost gone, though its surliness is still perceptible.
Straker, as a very obvious cockney, inspires him with implacable
contempt, as a stupid Englishman who cannot even speak his own
language properly. Straker, on the other hand, regards the old
gentleman's accent as a joke thoughtfully provided by Providence
expressly for the amusement of the British race, and treats him
normally with the indulgence due to an inferior and unlucky
species, but occasionally with indignant alarm when the old
gentleman shows signs of intending his Irish nonsense to be taken
STRAKER. I'll go tell the young lady. She said you'd prefer to
stay here [he turns to go up through the garden to the villa].
MALONE. [who has been looking round him with lively curiosity]
The young lady? That's Miss Violet, eh?
STRAKER. [stopping on the steps with sudden suspicion] Well, you
know, don't you?
MALONE. Do I?
STRAKER. [his temper rising] Well, do you or don't you?
MALONE. What business is that of yours?
Straker, now highly indignant, comes back from the steps and
confronts the visitor.
STRAKER. I'll tell you what business it is of mine. Miss
MALONE. [interrupting] Oh, her name is Robinson, is it? Thank
STRAKER. Why, you don't know even her name?
MALONE. Yes I do, now that you've told me.
STRAKER. [after a moment of stupefaction at the old man's
readiness in repartee] Look here: what do you mean by gittin into
my car and lettin me bring you here if you're not the person I
took that note to?
MALONE. Who else did you take it to, pray?
STRAKER. I took it to Mr Ector Malone, at Miss Robinson's
request, see? Miss Robinson is not my principal: I took it to
oblige her. I know Mr Malone; and he ain't you, not by a long
chalk. At the hotel they told me that your name is Ector Malone.
MALONE. Hector Malone.
STRAKER. [with calm superiority] Hector in your own country:
that's what comes o livin in provincial places like Ireland and
America. Over here you're Ector: if you avn't noticed it before
you soon will.
The growing strain of the conversation is here relieved by
Violet, who has sallied from the villa and through the garden to
the steps, which she now descends, coming very opportunely
between Malone and Straker.
VIOLET. [to Straker] Did you take my message?
STRAKER. Yes, miss. I took it to the hotel and sent it up,
expecting to see young Mr Malone. Then out walks this gent, and
says it's all right and he'll come with me. So as the hotel
people said he was Mr Ector Malone, I fetched him. And now he
goes back on what he said. But if he isn't the gentleman you
meant, say the word: it's easy enough to fetch him back again.
MALONE. I should esteem it a great favor if I might have a short
conversation with you, madam. I am Hector's father, as this
bright Britisher would have guessed in the course of another hour
STRAKER. [coolly defiant] No, not in another year or so. When
we've ad you as long to polish up as we've ad im, perhaps you'll
begin to look a little bit up to is mark. At present you fall a
long way short. You've got too many aitches, for one thing. [To
Violet, amiably] All right, Miss: you want to talk to him: I
shan't intrude. [He nods affably to Malone and goes out through
the little gate in the paling].
VIOLET. [very civilly] I am so sorry, Mr Malone, if that man has
been rude to you. But what can we do? He is our chauffeur.
MALONE. Your what?
VIOLET. The driver of our automobile. He can drive a motor car at
seventy miles an hour, and mend it when it breaks down. We are
dependent on our motor cars; and our motor cars are dependent on
him; so of course we are dependent on him.
MALONE. I've noticed, madam, that every thousand dollars an
Englishman gets seems to add one to the number of people he's
dependent on. However, you needn't apologize for your man: I made
him talk on purpose. By doing so I learnt that you're staying
here in Grannida with a party of English, including my son
VIOLET. [conversationally] Yes. We intended to go to Nice; but we
had to follow a rather eccentric member of our party who started
first and came here. Won't you sit down? [She clears the nearest
chair of the two books on it].
MALONE. [impressed by this attention] Thank you. [He sits down,
examining her curiously as she goes to the iron table to put down
the books. When she turns to him again, he says] Miss Robinson, I
VIOLET. [sitting down] Yes.
MALONE. [Taking a letter from his pocket] Your note to Hector runs
as follows [Violet is unable to repress a start. He pauses
quietly to take out and put on his spectacles, which have gold
rims]: "Dearest: they have all gone to the Alhambra for the
afternoon. I have shammed headache and have the garden all to
myself. Jump into Jack's motor: Straker will rattle you here in a
jiffy. Quick, quick, quick. Your loving Violet." [He looks at
her; but by this time she has recovered herself, and meets his
spectacles with perfect composure. He continues slowly] Now I
don't know on what terms young people associate in English
society; but in America that note would be considered to imply a
very considerable degree of affectionate intimacy between the
VIOLET. Yes: I know your son very well, Mr Malone. Have you any
MALONE. [somewhat taken aback] No, no objection exactly. Provided
it is understood that my son is altogether dependent on me, and
that I have to be consulted in any important step he may propose
VIOLET. I am sure you would not be unreasonable with him, Mr
MALONE. I hope not, Miss Robinson; but at your age you might
think many things unreasonable that don't seem so to me.
VIOLET. [with a little shrug] Oh well, I suppose there's no use
our playing at cross purposes, Mr Malone. Hector wants to marry
MALONE. I inferred from your note that he might. Well, Miss
Robinson, he is his own master; but if he marries you he shall
not have a rap from me. [He takes off his spectacles and pockets
them with the note].
VIOLET. [with some severity] That is not very complimentary to
me, Mr Malone.
MALONE. I say nothing against you, Miss Robinson: I daresay you
are an amiable and excellent young lady. But I have other views
VIOLET. Hector may not have other views for himself, Mr Malone.
MALONE. Possibly not. Then he does without me: that's all. I
daresay you are prepared for that. When a young lady writes to a
young man to come to her quick, quick, quick, money seems nothing
and love seems everything.
VIOLET. [sharply] I beg your pardon, Mr Malone: I do not think
anything so foolish. Hector must have money.
MALONE. [staggered] Oh, very well, very well. No doubt he can
work for it.
VIOLET. What is the use of having money if you have to work for
it? [She rises impatiently]. It's all nonsense, Mr Malone: you
must enable your son to keep up his position. It is his right.
MALONE. [grimly] I should not advise you to marry him on the
strength of that right, Miss Robinson.
Violet, who has almost lost her temper, controls herself with an
effort; unclenches her fingers; and resumes her seat with studied
tranquillity and reasonableness.
VIOLET. What objection have you to me, pray? My social position
is as good as Hector's, to say the least. He admits it.
MALONE. [shrewdly] You tell him so from time to time, eh?
Hector's social position in England, Miss Robinson, is just what
I choose to buy for him. I have made him a fair offer. Let him
pick out the most historic house, castle or abbey that England
contains. The day that he tells me he wants it for a wife worthy
of its traditions, I buy it for him, and give him the means of
keeping it up.
VIOLET. What do you mean by a wife worthy of its traditions?
Cannot any well bred woman keep such a house for him?
MALONE. No: she must be born to it.
VIOLET. Hector was not born to it, was he?
MALONE. His granmother was a barefooted Irish girl that nursed
me by a turf fire. Let him marry another such, and I will not
stint her marriage portion. Let him raise himself socially with
my money or raise somebody else so long as there is a social
profit somewhere, I'll regard my expenditure as justified. But
there must be a profit for someone. A marriage with you would
leave things just where they are.
VIOLET. Many of my relations would object very much to my
marrying the grandson of a common woman, Mr Malone. That may be
prejudice; but so is your desire to have him marry a title
MALONE. [rising, and approaching her with a scrutiny in which
there is a good deal of reluctant respect] You seem a pretty
straightforward downright sort of a young woman.
VIOLET. I do not see why I should be made miserably poor because
I cannot make profits for you. Why do you want to make Hector
MALONE. He will get over it all right enough. Men thrive better
on disappointments in love than on disappointments in money. I
daresay you think that sordid; but I know what I'm talking about.
My father died of starvation in Ireland in the black 47, Maybe
you've heard of it.
VIOLET. The Famine?
MALONE. [with smouldering passion] No, the starvation. When a
country is full of food, and exporting it, there can be no
famine. My father was starved dead; and I was starved out to
America in my mother's arms. English rule drove me and mine out
of Ireland. Well, you can keep Ireland. I and my like are coming
back to buy England; and we'll buy the best of it. I want no
middle class properties and no middle class women for Hector.
That's straightforward isn't it, like yourself?
VIOLET. [icily pitying his sentimentality] Really, Mr Malone, I
am astonished to hear a man of your age and good sense talking in
that romantic way. Do you suppose English noblemen will sell
their places to you for the asking?
MALONE. I have the refusal of two of the oldest family mansions
in England. One historic owner can't afford to keep all the rooms
dusted: the other can't afford the death duties. What do you say
VIOLET. Of course it is very scandalous; but surely you know that
the Government will sooner or later put a stop to all these
Socialistic attacks on property.
MALONE. [grinning] D'y' think they'll be able to get that done
before I buy the house--or rather the abbey? They're both abbeys.
VIOLET. [putting that aside rather impatiently] Oh, well, let us
talk sense, Mr Malone. You must feel that we haven't been talking
sense so far.
MALONE. I can't say I do. I mean all I say.
VIOLET. Then you don't know Hector as I do. He is romantic and
faddy--he gets it from you, I fancy--and he wants a certain sort
of wife to take care of him. Not a faddy sort of person, you
MALONE. Somebody like you, perhaps?
VIOLET. [quietly] Well, yes. But you cannot very well ask me to
undertake this with absolutely no means of keeping up his
MALONE. [alarmed] Stop a bit, stop a bit. Where are we getting
to? I'm not aware that I'm asking you to undertake anything.
VIOLET. Of course, Mr Malone, you can make it very difficult for
me to speak to you if you choose to misunderstand me.
MALONE. [half bewildered] I don't wish to take any unfair
advantage; but we seem to have got off the straight track
Straker, with the air of a man who has been making haste, opens
the little gate, and admits Hector, who, snorting with
indignation, comes upon the lawn, and is making for his father
when Violet, greatly dismayed, springs up and intercepts him.
Straker doer not wait; at least he does not remain visibly within
VIOLET. Oh, how unlucky! Now please, Hector, say nothing. Go away
until I have finished speaking to your father.
HECTOR. [inexorably] No, Violet: I mean to have this thing out,
right away. [He puts her aside; passes her by; and faces his
father, whose cheeks darken as his Irish blood begins to simmer].
Dad: you've not played this hand straight.
MALONE. Hwat d'y'mean?
HECTOR. You've opened a letter addressed to me. You've
impersonated me and stolen a march on this lady. That's
MALONE. [threateningly] Now you take care what you're saying,
Hector. Take care, I tell you.
HECTOR. I have taken care. I am taking care. I'm taking care of
my honor and my position in English society.
MALONE. [hotly] Your position has been got by my money: do you
HECTOR. Well, you've just spoiled it all by opening that letter.
A letter from an English lady, not addressed to you--a
confidential letter! a delicate letter! a private letter opened
by my father! That's a sort of thing a man can't struggle against
in England. The sooner we go back together the better. [He
appeals mutely to the heavens to witness the shame and anguish of
VIOLET. [snubbing him with an instinctive dislike for scene
making] Don't be unreasonable, Hector. It was quite natural of Mr
Malone to open my letter: his name was on the envelope.
MALONE. There! You've no common sense, Hector. I thank you, Miss
HECTOR. I thank you, too. It's very kind of you. My father knows
MALONE. [furiously clenching his fists] Hector--
HECTOR. [with undaunted moral force] Oh, it's no use hectoring
me. A private letter's a private letter, dad: you can't get over
MALONE [raising his voice] I won't be talked back to by you,
VIOLET. Ssh! please, please. Here they all come.
Father and son, checked, glare mutely at one another as Tanner
comes in through the little gate with Ramsden, followed by
Octavius and Ann.
VIOLET. Back already!
TANNER. The Alhambra is not open this afternoon.
VIOLET. What a sell!
Tanner passes on, and presently finds himself between Hector and
a strange elder, both apparently on the verge of personal combat.
He looks from one to the other for an explanation. They sulkily
avoid his eye, and nurse their wrath in silence.
RAMSDEN. Is it wise for you to be out in the sunshine with such a
TANNER. Have you recovered too, Malone?
VIOLET. Oh, I forgot. We have not all met before. Mr Malone:
won't you introduce your father?
HECTOR. [with Roman firmness] No, I will not. He is no father of
MALONE. [very angry] You disown your dad before your English
friends, do you?
VIOLET. Oh please don't make a scene.
Ann and Octavius, lingering near the gate, exchange an astonished
glance, and discreetly withdraw up the steps to the garden, where
they can enjoy the disturbance without intruding. On their way to
the steps Ann sends a little grimace of mute sympathy to Violet,
who is standing with her back to the little table, looking on in
helpless annoyance as her husband soars to higher and higher
moral eminences without the least regard to the old man's
HECTOR. I'm very sorry, Miss Robinson; but I'm contending for a
principle. I am a son, and, I hope, a dutiful one; but before
everything I'm a Man!!! And when dad treats my private letters as
his own, and takes it on himself to say that I shan't marry you
if I am happy and fortunate enough to gain your consent, then I
just snap my fingers and go my own way.
TANNER. Marry Violet!
RAMSDEN. Are you in your senses?
TANNER. Do you forget what we told you?
HECTOR. [recklessly] I don't care what you told me.
RAMSDEN. [scandalized] Tut tut, sir! Monstrous! [he flings away
towards the gate, his elbows quivering with indignation]
TANNER. Another madman! These men in love should be locked up.
[He gives Hector up as hopeless, and turns away towards the
garden, but Malone, taking offence in a new direction, follows
him and compels him, by the aggressivenes of his tone, to stop].
MALONE. I don't understand this. Is Hector not good enough for
this lady, pray?
TANNER. My dear sir, the lady is married already. Hector knows
it; and yet he persists in his infatuation. Take him home and
lock him up.
MALONE. [bitterly] So this is the high-born social tone I've
spoilt by my ignorant, uncultivated behavior! Makin love to a
married woman! [He comes angrily between Hector and Violet, and
almost bawls into Hector's left ear] You've picked up that habit
of the British aristocracy, have you?
HECTOR. That's all right. Don't you trouble yourself about that.
I'll answer for the morality of what I'm doing.
TANNER. [coming forward to Hector's right hand with flashing
eyes] Well said, Malone! You also see that mere marriage laws are
not morality! I agree with you; but unfortunately Violet does
MALONE. I take leave to doubt that, sir. [Turning on Violet] Let
me tell you, Mrs Robinson, or whatever your right name is, you
had no right to send that letter to my son when you were the wife
of another man.
HECTOR. [outraged] This is the last straw. Dad: you have insulted
MALONE. YOUR wife!
TANNER. YOU the missing husband! Another moral impostor! [He
smites his brow, and collapses into Malone's chair].
MALONE. You've married without my consent!
RAMSDEN. You have deliberately humbugged us, sir!
HECTOR. Here: I have had just about enough of being badgered.
Violet and I are married: that's the long and the short of it.
Now what have you got to say--any of you?
MALONE. I know what I've got to say. She's married a beggar.
HECTOR. No; she's married a Worker [his American pronunciation
imparts an overwhelming intensity to this simple and unpopular
word]. I start to earn my own living this very afternoon.
MALONE. [sneering angrily] Yes: you're very plucky now, because
you got your remittance from me yesterday or this morning, I
reckon. Wait til it's spent. You won't be so full of cheek then.
HECTOR. [producing a letter from his pocketbook] Here it is
[thrusting it on his father]. Now you just take your remittance
and yourself out of my life. I'm done with remittances; and I'm
done with you. I don't sell the privilege of insulting my wife
for a thousand dollars.
MALONE. [deeply wounded and full of concern] Hector: you
don't know what poverty is.
HECTOR. [fervidly] Well, I want to know what it is. I want'be a
Man. Violet: you come along with me, to your own home: I'll see
OCTAVIUS. [jumping down from the garden to the lawn and running
to Hector's left hand] I hope you'll shake hands with me before you
go, Hector. I admire and respect you more than I can say. [He is
affected almost to tears as they shake hands].
VIOLET. [also almost in tears, but of vexation] Oh don't be an
idiot, Tavy. Hector's about as fit to become a workman as you
TANNER. [rising from his chair on the other ride of Hector] Never
fear: there's no question of his becoming a navvy, Mrs Malone.
[To Hector] There's really no difficulty about capital to start
with. Treat me as a friend: draw on me.
OCTAVIUS. [impulsively] Or on me.
MALONE. [with fierce jealousy] Who wants your dirty money? Who
should he draw on but his own father? [Tanner and Octavius
recoil, Octavius rather hurt, Tanner consoled by the solution of
the money difficulty. Violet looks up hopefully]. Hector: don't
be rash, my boy. I'm sorry for what I said: I never meant to
insult Violet: I take it all back. She's just the wife you want:
HECTOR. [Patting him on the shoulder] Well, that's all right,
dad. Say no more: we're friends again. Only, I take no money from
MALONE. [pleading abjectly] Don't be hard on me, Hector. I'd
rather you quarrelled and took the money than made friends and
starved. You don't know what the world is: I do.
HECTOR. No, no, NO. That's fixed: that's not going to change. [He
passes his father inexorably by, and goes to Violet]. Come, Mrs
Malone: you've got to move to the hotel with me, and take your
proper place before the world.
VIOLET. But I must go in, dear, and tell Davis to pack. Won't you
go on and make them give you a room overlooking the garden for
me? I'll join you in half an hour.
HECTOR. Very well. You'll dine with us, Dad, won't you?
MALONE. [eager to conciliate him] Yes, yes.
HECTOR. See you all later. [He waves his hand to Ann, who has now
been joined by Tanner, Octavius, and Ramsden in the garden, and
goes out through the little gate, leaving his father and Violet
together on the lawn].
MALONE. You'll try to bring him to his senses, Violet: I know you
VIOLET. I had no idea he could be so headstrong. If he goes on
like that, what can I do?
MALONE. Don't be discurridged: domestic pressure may be slow; but
it's sure. You'll wear him down. Promise me you will.
VIOLET. I will do my best. Of course I think it's the greatest
nonsense deliberately making us poor like that.
MALONE. Of course it is.
VIOLET. [after a moment's reflection] You had better give me the
remittance. He will want it for his hotel bill. I'll see whether
I can induce him to accept it. Not now, of course, but presently.
MALONE. [eagerly] Yes, yes, yes: that's just the thing [he hands
her the thousand dollar bill, and adds cunningly] Y'understand
that this is only a bachelor allowance.
VIOLET. [Coolly] Oh, quite. [She takes it]. Thank you. By the
way, Mr Malone, those two houses you mentioned--the abbeys.
VIOLET. Don't take one of them until I've seen it. One never
knows what may be wrong with these places.
MALONE. I won't. I'll do nothing without consulting you, never
VIOLET. [politely, but without a ray of gratitude] Thanks: that
will be much the best way. [She goes calmly back to the villa,
escorted obsequiously by Malone to the upper end of the garden].
TANNER. [drawing Ramsden's attention to Malone's cringing
attitude as he takes leave of Violet] And that poor devil is a
billionaire! one of the master spirits of the age! Led on a
string like a pug dog by the first girl who takes the trouble to
despise him. I wonder will it ever come to that with me. [He
comes down to the lawn.]
RAMSDEN. [following him] The sooner the better for you.
MALONE. [clapping his hands as he returns through the garden]
That'll be a grand woman for Hector. I wouldn't exchange her for
ten duchesses. [He descends to the lawn and comes between Tanner
RAMSDEN. [very civil to the billionaire] It's an unexpected
pleasure to find you in this corner of the world, Mr Malone. Have
you come to buy up the Alhambra?
MALONE. Well, I don't say I mightn't. I think I could do better
with it than the Spanish government. But that's not what I came
about. To tell you the truth, about a month ago I overheard a
deal between two men over a bundle of shares. They differed about
the price: they were young and greedy, and didn't know that if
the shares were worth what was bid for them they must be worth
what was asked, the margin being too small to be of any account,
you see. To amuse meself, I cut in and bought the shares. Well,
to this day I haven't found out what the business is. The office
is in this town; and the name is Mendoza, Limited. Now whether
Mendoza's a mine, or a steamboat line, or a bank, or a patent
TANNER. He's a man. I know him: his principles are thoroughly
commercial. Let us take you round the town in our motor, Mr
Malone, and call on him on the way.
MALONE. If you'll be so kind, yes. And may I ask who--
TANNER. Mr Roebuck Ramsden, a very old friend of your
MALONE. Happy to meet you, Mr Ramsden.
RAMSDEN. Thank you. Mr Tanner is also one of our circle.
MALONE. Glad to know you also, Mr Tanner.
TANNER. Thanks. [Malone and Ramsden go out very amicably through
the little gate. Tanner calls to Octavius, who is wandering in
the garden with Ann] Tavy! [Tavy comes to the steps, Tanner
whispers loudly to him] Violet has married a financier of
brigands. [Tanner hurries away to overtake Malone and Ramsden.
Ann strolls to the steps with an idle impulse to torment
ANN. Won't you go with them, Tavy?
OCTAVIUS. [tears suddenly flushing his eyes] You cut me to the
heart, Ann, by wanting me to go [he comes down on the lawn to
hide his face from her. She follows him caressingly].
ANN. Poor Ricky Ticky Tavy! Poor heart!
OCTAVIUS. It belongs to you, Ann. Forgive me: I must speak of it.
I love you. You know I love you.
ANN. What's the good, Tavy? You know that my mother is determined
that I shall marry Jack.
OCTAVIUS. [amazed] Jack!
ANN. It seems absurd, doesn't it?
OCTAVIUS. [with growing resentment] Do you mean to say that Jack
has been playing with me all this time? That he has been urging
me not to marry you because he intends to marry you himself?
ANN. [alarmed] No no: you mustn't lead him to believe that I said
that: I don't for a moment think that Jack knows his own mind.
But it's clear from my father's will that he wished me to marry
Jack. And my mother is set on it.
OCTAVIUS. But you are not bound to sacrifice yourself always to
the wishes of your parents.
ANN. My father loved me. My mother loves me. Surely their wishes
are a better guide than my own selfishness.
OCTAVIUS. Oh, I know how unselfish you are, Ann. But believe me--
though I know I am speaking in my own interest--there is another
side to this question. Is it fair to Jack to marry him if you do
not love him? Is it fair to destroy my happiness as well as your
own if you can bring yourself to love me?
ANN. [looking at him with a faint impulse of pity] Tavy, my
dear, you are a nice creature--a good boy.
OCTAVIUS. [humiliated] Is that all?
ANN. [mischievously in spite of her pity] That's a great deal, I
assure you. You would always worship the ground I trod on,
OCTAVIUS. I do. It sounds ridiculous; but it's no exaggeration. I
do; and I always shall.
ANN. Always is a long word, Tavy. You see, I shall have to live
up always to your idea of my divinity; and I don't think I could do
that if we were married. But if I marry Jack, you'll never be
disillusioned--at least not until I grow too old.
OCTAVIUS. I too shall grow old, Ann. And when I am eighty, one
white hair of the woman I love will make me tremble more than the
thickest gold tress from the most beautiful young head.
ANN. [quite touched] Oh, that's poetry, Tavy, real poetry. It
gives me that strange sudden sense of an echo from a former