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The Master of Mrs. Chilvers by Jerome K. Jerome

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GEOFFREY It's an epitome of the whole question. You are trying to
take my job away from me. To the neglect of your own.

ANNYS [After another moment's silence.] Haven't I always tried to
do my duty?

GEOFFREY I have thought so.

ANNYS Oh, my dear, we mustn't quarrel. You will win this
election. I want you to win it. Next time we must fight side by
side again.

GEOFFREY Don't you see? Fighting you means fighting the whole
movement. [He indicates the posters pinned to the walls.] That
sort of thing.

ANNYS [After a brief inspection.] Not that way. [Shaking her
head.] It would break my heart for you to turn against us. Win
because you are the better man. [Smiling.] I want you to be the
better man.

GEOFFREY I would rather be your husband.

ANNYS [Smiling.] Isn't that the same thing?

GEOFFREY No. I want a wife.

ANNYS What precisely do you mean by "wife"?

GEOFFREY It's an old-established word.

[MRS. CHINN has entered to complete the tea arrangements. She is
arranging the table.]

MRS. CHINN There's a deputation downstairs, sir, just come for

GEOFFREY What are they?

MRS. CHINN It's one of those societies for the reform of
something. They said you were expecting them.

SIGSBY [Breaking away from the group by the window.] Quite right.
[Looks at his watch.] Five o'clock, I'll bring them up.

GEOFFREY Happen to know what it is they want to reform?

SIGSBY [By door.] Laws relating to the physical relationship
between the sexes, I think.

GEOFFREY Oh, only that!

SIGSBY Something of the sort.

[He goes out. MRS. CHINN also by the other door.]

GEOFFREY [Rising.] Will you pour out?

ANNYS [She has been thinking. She comes back to the present.] We
shan't be in your way?

GEOFFREY Oh, no. It will make it easier to get rid of them.

[ANNYS changes her chair. The others gather round. The service
and drinking of tea proceeds in the usual course.]

[To ELIZABETH.] You'll take some tea?

ELIZABETH Thank you.

GEOFFREY You must be enjoying yourself just now.

ELIZABETH [Makes a moue.] They insist on my being agreeable.

ANNYS It's so good for her. Teaches her self-control.

LAMB I gather from Mrs. Spender, that in the perfect world there
will be no men at all.

ELIZABETH Oh, yes, they will be there. But in their proper place.

ST. HERBERT That's why you didn't notice them.

[The DEPUTATION reaches the door. The sound of voices is heard.]

PHOEBE She's getting on very well. If she isn't careful, she'll
end up by being a flirt.

[The DEPUTATION enters, guided by SIGSBY. Its number is five, two
men and three women. Eventually they group themselves--some
standing, some sitting--each side of GEOFFREY. The others gather
round ANNYS, who keeps her seat at the opposite side of the table.]

SIGSBY [Talking as he enters.] Exactly what I've always

HOPPER It would make the husband quite an interesting person.

SIGSBY [Cheerfully.] That's the idea. Here we are, guv'nor.
This is Mr. Chilvers.

[GEOFFREY bows, the DEPUTATION also. SIGSBY introduces a
remarkably boyish-looking man, dressed in knickerbockers.]

SIGSBY This is Mr. Peekin, who has kindly consented to act as
spokesman. [To the DEPUTATION, generally.] Will you have some

MISS BORLASSE [A thick-set, masculine-featured lady, with short
hair and heavy eyebrows. Her deep, decisive tone settles the
question.] Thank you. We have so little time.

MR. PEEKIN We propose, Mr. Chilvers, to come to the point at once.
[He is all smiles, caressing gestures.]

GEOFFREY Excellent.

PEEKIN If I left a baby at your door, what would you do with it?

GEOFFREY [For a moment he is taken aback, recovers himself.] Are
you thinking of doing so?

PEEKIN It's not impossible.

GEOFFREY Well, it sounds perhaps inhospitable, but do you know I
really think I should ask you to take it away again.

PEEKIN Yes, but by the time you find it there, I shall have

HOPPER Good. [He rubs his hands. Smiles at the others.]

GEOFFREY In that case I warn you that I shall hand it over to the

PEEKIN [He turns to the others.] I don't myself see what else Mr.
Chilvers could be expected to do.

MISS BORLASSE He'd be a fool not to.

GEOFFREY Thank you. So far we seem to be in agreement. And now
may I ask to what all this is leading?

PEEKIN [He changes from the debonnair to the dramatic.] How many
men, Mr. Chilvers, leave their babies every year at the door of
poverty-stricken women? What are they expected to do with them?

[A moment. The DEPUTATION murmur approval.]

GEOFFREY I see. But is there no difference between the two doors?
I am not an accomplice.

PEEKIN An accomplice! Is the ignorant servant-girl--first lured
into the public-house, cajoled, tricked, deceived by false
promises--the half-starved shop-girl in the hands of the practised
libertine--is she an accomplice?

MRS. PEEKIN [A dowdily-dressed, untidy woman, but the face is
sweet and tender.] Ah, Mr. Chilvers, if you could only hear the
stories that I have heard from dying lips.

GEOFFREY Very pitiful, my dear lady. And, alas, only too old.
But there are others. It would not be fair to blame always the

ANNYS [Unnoticed, drawn by the subject, she has risen and come
down.] Perhaps not. But the punishment always falls on the woman.
Is THAT quite fair?

GEOFFREY [He is irritated at ANNYS'S incursion into the
discussion.] My dear Annys, that is Nature's law, not man's. All
man can do is to mitigate it.

PEEKIN That is all we ask. The suffering, the shame, must always
be the woman's. Surely that is sufficient.

GEOFFREY What do you propose?

MISS BORLASSE [In her deep, fierce tones.] That all children born
out of wedlock should be a charge upon the rates.

MISS RICKETTS [A slight, fair, middle-aged woman, with a nervous
hesitating manner.] Of course, only if the mother wishes it.

GEOFFREY [The proposal staggers him. But the next moment it
inspires him with mingled anger and amusement.] My dear, good
people, have you stopped for one moment to consider what the result
of your proposal would be?

PEEKIN For one thing, Mr. Chilvers, the adding to the populace of
healthy children in place of the stunted and diseased abortions
that is all that these poor women, out of their scanty earnings,
can afford to present to the State.

GEOFFREY Humph! That incidentally it would undermine the whole
institution of marriage, let loose the flood-gates that at present
hold immorality in check, doesn't appear to trouble you. That the
law must be altered to press less heavily upon the woman--that the
man must be made an equal sharer in the penalty--all that goes
without saying. The remedy you propose would be a thousand times
worse than the disease.

ANNYS And meanwhile? Until you have devised this scheme [there is
a note of contempt in her voice] under which escape for the man
will be impossible?

GEOFFREY The evil must continue. As other evils have to until the
true remedy is found.

PEEKIN [He has hurriedly consulted with the others. All have
risen--he turns to GEOFFREY.] You will not support our demand?

GEOFFREY Support it! Do you mean that you cannot yourselves see
that you are holding out an indemnity to every profligate, male and
female, throughout the land--that you would be handicapping, in the
struggle for existence, every honest man and woman desirous of
bringing up their children in honour and in love? Your suggestion
is monstrous!

PEEKIN [The little man is not without his dignity.] We apologise,
Mr. Chilvers, for having taken up your time.

GEOFFREY I am sorry the matter was one offering so little chance
of agreement.

PEEKIN We will make only one slight further trespass on your
kindness. Mrs. Chilvers, if one may judge, would seem to be more
in sympathy with our views. Might we--it would be a saving of time
and shoe leather [he smiles]--might we take this opportunity of
laying our case before her?

GEOFFREY It would be useless.

[A short silence. ANNYS, with ELIZABETH and PHOEBE a little behind
her, stands right. LAMB, SIGSBY, and ST. HERBERT are behind
GEOFFREY centre. The DEPUTATION is left.]

HOPPER Do we gather that in this election you speak for both

GEOFFREY In matters of common decency, yes. My wife does not
associate herself with movements for the encouragement of vice.

[There is another moment's silence.]

ANNYS But, Geoffrey, dear--we should not be encouraging the evil.
We should still seek to find the man, to punish him. The woman
would still suffer -

GEOFFREY My dear Annys, this is neither the time nor place for you
and me to argue out the matter. I must ask you to trust to my

ANNYS I can understand your refusing, but why do you object to my

GEOFFREY Because I do not choose for my wife's name to be linked
with a movement that I regard as criminal. I forbid it.

[It was the moment that was bound to come. The man's instincts,
training, have involuntarily asserted themselves. Shall the woman
yield? If so, then down goes the whole movement--her claim to
freedom of judgment, of action, in all things. All watch the
struggle with breathless interest.]

ANNYS [She speaks very slowly, very quietly, but with a new note
in her voice.] I am sorry, but I have given much thought to this
matter, and--I do not agree with you.

MRS. PEEKIN You will help us?

ANNYS I will do what I can.

PEEKIN [He takes from his pocket a folded paper.] It is always so
much more satisfactory when these things are in writing.
Candidates, with the best intentions in the world, are apt to
forget. [He has spread the paper on a corner of the table. He has
in his hand his fountain-pen.]

ANNYS [With a smile.] I am not likely to forget, but if you wish
it--[She approaches the table.]

GEOFFREY [He interposes. His voice is very low, almost a
whisper.] My wife will not sign.

ANNYS [She also speaks low, but there is no yielding in her
voice.] I am not only your wife. I have a duty also to others.

GEOFFREY It is for you to choose. [He leaves the way open to

[The silence can almost be felt. She moves to the table, takes up
the paper. It contains but a few lines of writing. Having read
it, she holds out her hand for the pen. PEEKIN puts it in her
hand. With a firm hand she signs, folds the paper, and returns it
to him. She remains standing by the table. With the removal of
the tension there comes a rustle, a breaking of the silence.]

MISS RICKETTS [She seizes ANNYS's hand, hanging listlessly by her
side, and, stooping, kisses it.]

MISS BORLASSE That is all, isn't it?

PEEKIN We thank you, Mrs. Chilvers. Good afternoon.

ANNYS [The natural reaction is asserting itself. She pulls
herself together sufficiently to murmur her answer.] Good

MRS. PEEKIN [The DEPUTATION is moving away; she takes from her
waist a small bunch of flowers, and, turning, places them in
ANNYS'S hand.]

ANNYS [She smiles, remains standing silent, the flowers in her

["Good afternoons" are exchanged with some of the others.

PEEKIN Good afternoon, Mr. Chilvers.

GEOFFREY [Who has moved away.] Good afternoon.

[The DEPUTATION joins SIGSBY by the door. He leads them out.]

ELIZABETH [To PHOEBE.] Are you going my way?

PHOEBE [She glances round at ANNYS.] Yes, I'll come with you.

ST. HERBERT I will put you into a bus, if you will let me. We
don't sport many cabs in East Poplar. [He is helping ELIZABETH
with her cloak.]

ELIZABETH Thank you.

LAMB I've got to go up West. [To GEOFFREY.] Will you be at the
House this evening?

GEOFFREY [He is standing by the desk pretending to look at some
papers]. I shall look in about ten o'clock.

LAMB One or two things I want to say to you. Goodbye for the


PHOEBE Goodbye, old man. [She stretches out her hand.]

GEOFFREY Goodbye. [She shakes hands with a smile, exchanges a
casual "goodbye" with ELIZABETH.]

[They go towards the door.]

[SIGSBY re-enters.]

SIGSBY [To LAMB.] Are you going?

LAMB Yes. I'll see you to-morrow morning. About ten o'clock.

SIGSBY I shall be here. [He exchanges a "good afternoon" with the

[They go out. SIGSBY crosses and goes into the other room.]

ANNYS [She has let fall the flowers on the table. She crosses to
where GEOFFREY still stands by the desk, his back towards her. She
stretches out her hand, touches him. He does not move.] Geoffrey!

[But still he takes no notice.]

I am so sorry. We must talk it over quietly--at home.

GEOFFREY [He turns.] Home! I have no home. I have neither
children nor wife. I KEEP a political opponent.

[ANNYS starts back with a cry. He crosses in front of her and
seats himself at the table. The flowers are lying there; he throws
them into the waste-paper basket.]

ANNYS [She puts on her cloak, moves towards the door. Half-way
she pauses, makes a movement towards him. But he will not see.
Then a hard look comes into her eyes, and without another word she
goes out, leaving the door open.]

[SIGSBY is heard moving in the other room.]

GEOFFREY [He is writing.] Sigsby.


GEOFFREY That poster I told young Gordon I wouldn't sanction, "The
Woman spouting politics, the Man returning to a slattern's home."

[SIGSBY enters.]

SIGSBY I have countermanded them.

GEOFFREY Countermand them again. We shall want a thousand.

SIGSBY [Can hardly believe his ears.]

GEOFFREY [With a gesture round the room.] All of them. "A Man
for Men!" "Save the Children!" "Guard your Homes!" All the
damned collection. Order as many as you want.

SIGSBY [His excitement rising.] I can go ahead. You mean it?

GEOFFREY [He looks at him.] It's got to be a fight! [A moment.
He returns to his writing.] Telephone Hake that I shall be dining
at the Reform Club.



SCENE:- A room in the Town Hall, Poplar. A high, bare, cold room,
unfurnished except for cane-bottomed chairs ranged against the
walls. French windows right give on to a balcony overlooking the
street. Door in back opens upon a stone passage. A larger door
opens into another room, through which one passes to reach the room
in which the counting of the votes is taking place. A fire burns--
or rather tries to burn. The room is lighted from the centre of
the ceiling by an electric sun. A row of hat-pegs is on the wall
between the two doors. The time is about 9 p.m.

[People entering from the street wear coats or cloaks, &c., the
season being early spring. If passing through or staying in the
room, they take off their outdoor things and hang them up, putting
them on again before going out.]

[JAWBONES is coaxing the reluctant fire by using a newspaper as a
blower. He curses steadily under his breath. The door opens.
GINGER enters; she is dressed in cheap furs.]

JAWBONES Shut the door, can't yer!

GINGER Don't yer want a draught?

JAWBONES No, I don't. Not any more than I've got.

GINGER [She shuts the door.] 'Ave they begun counting the votes?

JAWBONES Been at it for the last three-quarters of an hour.

GINGER Who's going to win?

JAWBONES One of 'em.

[LADY MOGTON has entered. She has come from the room where they
are counting the votes.]

Shut that door! [He glances over his shoulder, sees his mistake.]
Beg pardon! [To himself.] Thought 'twas the other fool!

LADY MOGTON [She shuts the door. To GINGER.] Have you seen Mrs.

GINGER Not since the afternoon, your ladyship.

LADY MOGTON She is coming, I suppose?

GINGER I think so, your ladyship.

LADY MOGTON It's very cold in here, Gordon.

JAWBONES Yes, my lady. Not what I call a cosy room.

LADY MOGTON [To GINGER.] Jump into a cab. See if you can find
her. Perhaps she has been detained at one of the committee-rooms.
Tell her she ought to be here.

GINGER Yes, your ladyship. [She crosses, opens door.]

JAWBONES Shut the door.

GINGER Oh, shut -

[She finds herself face to face with a MESSENGER carrying a ballot-

I beg yer pardon! [She goes out, closes door.]

LADY MOGTON [To the MESSENGER.] Is that the last?

MESSENGER Generally is. Isle of Dogs!

[He goes into the other room.]

LADY MOGTON [To JAWBONES.] Do you know where Mr. Chilvers is?

[There comes a bloodthirsty yell from the crowd outside.]

JAWBONES Not unless that's 'im. [He finishes for the time being
with the fire. Rises.]

[JANET enters.]

LADY MOGTON Was that you they were yelling at?

JANET No, it's Mr. Sigsby.

[Another yell is heard. Out of it a shrill female voice--"Mind 'is
fice; yer spoiling it!"]

The Woman's Laundry Union have taken such a strong dislike to him.

[A final yell. Then a voice: "That's taken some of the starch out
of him!" followed by a shriek of laughter.]

JAWBONES 'E only suggested as 'ow there was enough old washerwomen
in Parliament as it was.

LADY MOGTON A most unnecessary remark. It will teach him -

[SIGSBY enters, damaged. His appearance is comic. LADY MOGTON
makes no effort to repress a grim smile.]

SIGSBY Funny, ain't it?

LADY MOGTON I am sorry.

SIGSBY [He snarls.] "The Mother's Hand shall Help Us!" One of
your posters, I think.

LADY MOGTON You shouldn't have insulted them--calling them old

SIGSBY Insult! Can't one indulge in a harmless jeu d'esprit--[he
pronounces it according to his own ideas]--without having one's
clothes torn off one's back? [Fiercely.] What do you mean by it--
disgracing your sex?

LADY MOGTON Are you addressing me?

SIGSBY All of you. Upsetting the foundations upon which society
has been reared--the natural and lawful subjection of the woman to
the man. Why don't you read St. Paul?

LADY MOGTON St. Paul was addressing Christians. When men behave
like Christians there will be no need of Votes for Women. You read
St. Paul on men. [To JANET.] I shall want you!

[She goes out, followed by JANET.]

[SIGSBY gives vent to a gesture.]

JAWBONES Getting saucy, ain't they?

SIGSBY Over-indulgence. That's what the modern woman is suffering
from. Gets an idea on Monday that she'd like the whole world
altered; if it isn't done by Saturday, raises hell! Where's the

JAWBONES Hasn't been here.

SIGSBY [Hands JAWBONES his damaged hat.] See if they can do
anything to that. If not, get me a new one. [He forks out a
sovereign.] Sure to be some shops open in the High Street. [LAMB
and ST. HERBERT enter.]

LAMB Hallo! have they been mauling you?

SIGSBY [He snatches the damaged hat from JAWBONES, to hand it back
the next moment; holds it out.] Woman's contribution to politics.
Get me a collar at the same time--sixteen and a half.

[JAWBONES takes his cap and goes out. The men hang up their

SIGSBY Where's it all going to end? That's what I want to know!

ST. HERBERT Where most things end. In the millennium, according
to its advocates. In the ruin of the country, according to its
opponents. In mild surprise on the part of the next generation
that ever there was any fuss about it.

SIGSBY In amazement, you mean, that their fathers were so blind as
not to see where it was leading. My boy, this is going to alter
the whole relationship between the sexes!

ST. HERBERT Is it so perfect as it is?

[A silence.]

Might it not be established on a more workable, a more enduring
basis if woman were allowed a share in the shaping of it?

[Some woman in the crowd starts the refrain, "We'll hang old
Asquith on a sour apple tree." It is taken up with quiet
earnestness by others.]

SIGSBY Shaping it! Nice sort of shape it will be by the time that
lot [with a gesture, including the crowd, LADY MOGTON & Co.] have
done knocking it about. Wouldn't be any next generation to be
surprised at anything if some of them had their way.

ST. HERBERT The housebreakers come first--not a class of work
demanding much intelligence; the builders come later. Have you
seen Chilvers?

LAMB I left him at the House. He couldn't get away.

SIGSBY There's your object-lesson for you. We don't need to go
far. A man's whole career ruined by the wife he nourishes.

ST. HERBERT How do you mean, "ruined?"

SIGSBY So it is. If she wins the election and claims the seat.
Do you think the Cabinet will want him? Their latest addition
compelled to appeal to the House of Commons to fight for him
against his own womenfolk. [Grunts.] He'll be the laughing-stock
of the whole country.

ST. HERBERT Do you know for certain that they mean to claim the

SIGSBY "Wait and see" is their answer.

LAMB Hasn't Chilvers any idea?

SIGSBY Can't get him to talk. Don't think he's seen her since
that shindy over the Deputation.

LAMB Humph!

SIGSBY Even if she herself wished to draw back, the others would
overrule her.

LAMB I'm not so sure of that. She's got a way of shutting her
mouth that reminds me of my old woman.

SIGSBY The arrangement, as he explained it to me, was that the
whole thing was to end with the polling. It was to have been a
mere joke, a mere ballon d'essai. The mistake he made was thinking
he could depend on her.

LAMB Guess she made the same mistake. You can fight and shake
hands afterwards; it doesn't go with kissing.

SIGSBY Man and woman were not made to fight. It was never

[The woman's "Marseillaise" has been taken up by the crowd. The
chorus has been reached.]

Oh, damn your row! [He slams to the window; it was ajar.]

[JAWBONES has entered, with his purchases.]

[Turning from window he sees JAWBONES, goes to meet him.] Couldn't
they do anything?

JAWBONES [He has bought a new hat; has also brought back the
remains. He shakes his head.] No good for anything else but a

SIGSBY [With a grunt he snatches the thing and flings it into a
corner. Tries on the new one.]

JAWBONES 'Ow's it feel?

[SIGSBY, with the help of JAWBONES, attends to his appearance.]

LAMB [To ST. HERBERT.] No use talking to her, I suppose?

ST. HERBERT [Shrugs his shoulders.] She'll do what she imagines
to be her duty. Women are so uncivilised.

[A burst of cheering is heard. A shrill male voice: "Three cheers
for Winston Churchill!" It is followed by an explosion of yells.]

ST. HERBERT Who's that?

LAMB [He has opened the window.] Phoebe Mogton!

SIGSBY What a family!

[JANET has entered.]

JANET Is that Mrs. Chilvers? [To LAMB and ST. HERBERT.] Good

ST. HERBERT Good evening.

LAMB No; it's her sister.

JANET I wonder she doesn't come.

SIGSBY What are the latest figures? Do you know?

[PHOEBE enters.]

JANET I forget the numbers. Mrs. Chilvers is forty ahead.

PHOEBE Forty ahead! [To JANET.] Did you order the band?

LAMB [To SIGSBY.] The Dock division was against him to a man;
that Shipping Bill has upset them.

JANET No. I didn't think we should want the band.

PHOEBE Not want it! My dear girl -

JANET Perhaps Lady Mogton has ordered it, I'll ask her. [She goes

SIGSBY Hadn't you better "Wait and see"? It isn't over yet.

PHOEBE We may as well have it! It can play the Dead March in
"Saul" if you win. [She laughs.]

SIGSBY [Grunts. To LAMB.] Are you coming?

[He goes out.]

LAMB Yes. [To ST. HERBERT.] Are you coming?

ST. HERBERT Hardly worth while; nearly over, isn't it?

LAMB It generally takes an hour and a half. [He looks at his
watch.] Another forty minutes. Perhaps less. [He goes out.]

PHOEBE I do love to make him ratty. Wish it wasn't poor old Geoff
we were fighting.

ST. HERBERT When I marry, it will be the womanly woman.

PHOEBE No chance for me then?

ST. HERBERT I don't say that. I can see you taking your political
opinions from your husband, and thinking them your own.

PHOEBE Good heavens!

ST. HERBERT The brainy woman will think for herself. And then I
foresee some lively breakfast tables.

PHOEBE Humph! No fear, I suppose, of a man taking his views from
his wife and thinking them his own?

ST. HERBERT That may be the solution. The brainy woman will have
to marry the manly man.

[GINGER enters.]

JAWBONES [He is on his knees blowing the fire. In a low growl.]
Shut the door!

GINGER Can't till I'm inside, can I? [Shuts it.] Where's Lady

JAWBONES I don't know.

PHOEBE What do you want her for?

GINGER Only to tell her that I can't find Chilvers.

PHOEBE Isn't she here?

GINGER Not unless she's come while I've been out.

[JANET enters.]

JANET Oh, Lady Mogton -

PHOEBE [Interrupting her.] Isn't Annys here?

JANET No. [To GINGER.] Haven't you found her?

GINGER [Shakes her head.] Been everywhere I could think of.

PHOEBE [To herself.] She couldn't have gone home? Is there a
telephone here?

JANET The room's locked up.

JAWBONES There's one at 118, High Street. Shall I go, miss?

PHOEBE No, thanks. I'll go myself. Oh, what about the band?

JANET Lady Mogton says she'd like it. If it isn't too tired.

GINGER It's at Sell's Coffee-'ouse in Piggott Street. I 'eard
them practising.

PHOEBE Good. I shan't be more than a few minutes.

ST. HERBERT I'll come with you, if I may? I've got some news that
may be of use to you.

PHOEBE Do. [To GINGER.] Stop here, I may want you.

[PHOEBE and ST. HERBERT go out.]

JANET How was Mrs. Chilvers seeming this afternoon?

GINGER Never 'eard 'er speak better, miss.

JANET Did you stop to the end?

GINGER Not quite. Mrs. Spender wanted some shopping done.

[JANET goes out.]

GINGER Can I 'elp yer?

JAWBONES Yer might hold the piper while I blow.

[The fire begins to burn.]

GINGER It's getting brighter.

JAWBONES That's caught it.

GINGER Wonderful what a little coaxing will do.

JAWBONES [He is still squatting on his heels, folding up the
paper. He looks up.] Ain't yer ever thought of that, instead of
worrying about the vote?

GINGER [She moves away.] You don't understand us wimmin.

JAWBONES [He has risen. He pauses in his folding of the paper.]
Don't say that.

GINGER Why should we coax yer--for our rights?

JAWBONES Because it's the easiest way of getting 'em.

GINGER [She has become oratorical.] Our appeal is not to man
[with upraised hand] but to Justice!

JAWBONES Oh! And what does the lidy say?

GINGER [Descending.] 'Ow do yer mean?

JAWBONES To your appeal. Is she goin' to give 'em to yer ? You
tike my tip: if yer in a 'urry, you get a bit on account--from
Man. 'Ere. [He dives into his pocket, produces, wrapped up in
tissue paper, a ring, which he exhibits to her.] That's a bit more
in your line.

GINGER [Her eyes sparkle. She takes the ring in her hand. Then
problems come to her.] Why do yer want me, William?

JAWBONES Because, in spite of all, I love yer.

GINGER [She looks into the future.] What will I be? A general
servant, without wages.

JAWBONES The question, as it seems to me, is, which of us two is
the biggest fool? Instead of thirty bob a week in my pocket to
spend as I like--guess I'll 'ave to be content with three 'alf-

GINGER Seven an' six! Rather a lot, Bill, out o' thirty bob.
Don't leave much for me an' the children.

JAWBONES I shall 'ave to get my dinners.

GINGER I could mike yer somethin' tasty to tike with yer. Then
with, say--three shillings -

JAWBONES 'Ere--[He is on the point of snatching back the ring. He
encounters her eyes. There is a moment's battle. The Eternal
Feminine conquers.] Will yer always look as sweet as yer do now?

GINGER Always, Bill. So long as yer good to me!

[She slips the ring over her finger, still with her eyes drawing
him. He catches her to him in fierce passion, kisses her.]

[A loud shrill female cheer comes from the crowd. The cheer is
renewed and renewed.]

JAWBONES [He breaks away and goes to the window.] 'Ullo! What
are they shoutin' about now? [He looks out.] It's the Donah!

GINGER Mrs. Chilvers?

JAWBONES Yus. Better not get wearin' it--may shock their

GINGER [She gazes rapturously at the ring as she draws it off.]
It is a beauty! I do love yer, Bill.

[There enter ANNYS and ELIZABETH. ANNYS is excited; she is
laughing and talking.]

ANNYS [Laughing while she rearranges her hat and hair.] A little
embarrassing. That red-haired girl--she carried me right up the
steps. I was afraid she would -

[JAWBONES has been quick enough to swing a chair into place just in
time to receive her.]

[She recovers herself.] Thank you.

ELIZABETH [She hands ANNYS a smelling-bottle. To JAWBONES.] Open
the window a few inches.

[He does so. Some woman, much interrupted, is making a speech.]

[JANET opens the door a little way and looks in.]

JANET Oh, it is you! I am glad!

[She goes out again.]

ELIZABETH Are the others all here?

GINGER 'Er ladyship is watching the counting. Miss Phoebe 'as
just gone out -

[PHOEBE enters.]

Oh, 'ere she is.

PHOEBE Hullo! [She is taking off her things.] Wherever have you
been? We've been scouring the neighbourhood -

[LADY MOGTON enters, followed by JANET.]

I say, you're looking jolly chippy.

ELIZABETH We had an extra enthusiastic meeting. She spoke for
rather a long time. I made her come home with me and lie down. I
think she is all right now.

LADY MOGTON Would you like to see a doctor?

PHOEBE There is a very good man close here. [She turns to
JAWBONES, who is still near the window.] Gordon -

ANNYS [Interrupting.] No. Please don't. I am quite all right.
I hate strange doctors.

PHOEBE Well, let me send for Whitby; he could be here in twenty

ANNYS I wish you would all leave me alone. There's absolutely
nothing to fuss about whatever. We pampered women--we can't
breathe the same air that ordinary mortals have to. We ought to be
ashamed of ourselves.

PHOEBE [To herself.] Obstinate pig.

[She catches JAWBONES' eye; unnoticed by the others, she takes him
aside. They whisper.]

ANNYS How is it going?

LADY MOGTON You must be prepared for winning. [She puts again the
question that ANNYS has frequently been asked to answer during the
last few days.] What are you going to do?

[MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS enters, as usual in a flutter of


[They brush her back into silence. ELIZABETH takes charge of her.]

ANNYS [She has risen.] You think it wise tactics, to make it
impossible for Geoffrey to be anything else in the future but our

LADY MOGTON [Contemptuously.] You are thinking of him, and not of
the cause.

ANNYS And if I were! Haven't I made sacrifice enough?--more than
any of you will ever know. Ay--and would make more, if I felt it
was demanded of me. I don't! [Her burst of anger is finished.
She turns, smiling.] I'm much more cunning than you think. There
will be other elections we shall want to fight. With the Under-
Secretary for Home Affairs in sympathy with us, the Government will
find it difficult to interfere. Don't you see how clever I am?

[JAWBONES, having received his instructions from PHOEBE, has
slipped out unobserved. He has beckoned to GINGER; she has
followed him. PHOEBE has joined the group.]

MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS. There's something in that.

JANET Is Mr. Chilvers still in sympathy with us?

PHOEBE Of course he is. A bit rubbed up the wrong way just at
present; that's our fault. When Annys goes down, early next mouth,
to fight the Exchange Division of Manchester, we shall have him
with us.

[A moment.]

LADY MOGTON Where do you get that from?

PHOEBE From St. Herbert. The present member is his cousin. They
say he can't live more than a week.

MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS It really seems like Providence.

ANNYS [Has taken the opportunity of giving PHOEBE a grateful
squeeze of the hand.].

LADY MOGTON You will fight Manchester?

ANNYS Yes. [Laughs.] And make myself a public nuisance if I win.

LADY MOGTON Well, must be content with that, I suppose. Better
not come in; the room's rather crowded. I'll keep you informed how
things are going.

[She goes out, followed by JANET.]

MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS I'll stay with you, dear.

PHOEBE I want you to come and be photographed for the Daily
Mirror. The man's waiting downstairs.

ELIZABETH I'll stop with Annys.

MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS I'm not quite sure, you know, that I take
well by flashlight.

PHOEBE You wait till you've seen mamma! We must have you. They
want you for the centre of the page.

MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS Well, if it's really -

PHOEBE [To the others.] Shall see you again. [She winks. Then
to MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS.] We mustn't keep them waiting. They
are giving us a whole page.

to the door; she closes it. ANNYS has reseated herself, facing the

ELIZABETH When did you see your husband last?

ANNYS Not since--Tuesday, wasn't it, that we went round to his
rooms. Why?

ELIZABETH I'm thinking about Manchester. What was it he said to

ANNYS Oh, we were, both of us, a little over-excited, I suppose.
He has--[she hesitates, finally answers]--he has always been so
eager for children.

ELIZABETH Yes. So many men are; not having to bear the pain and
inconvenience themselves.

ANNYS Oh, well, they have to provide for them when they do come.
That's fair enough division, I su- [Suddenly she turns fiercely.]
Why do you talk like that? As if we women were cowards. Do you
think if God sent me a child I should grudge Him the price!

ELIZABETH Do you want Him to?

ANNYS I don't know; prayed Him to, once.

ELIZABETH [She lays her hand upon her.] It isn't a few more
mothers that the world has need of. It is the women whom God has
appointed--to whom He has given freedom, that they may champion the
cause of the mothers, helpless by reason of their motherhood.

[A moment. GEOFFREY enters.]

GEOFFREY Good evening.

ANNYS [Rises; a smile struggles for possession. But he only
shakes hands, and it dies away.]

ELIZABETH Good evening.

[They shake hands.]

GEOFFREY You are not interested in the counting?

ANNYS The room is rather crowded. Mamma thought I would be better
out here. How have you been?

GEOFFREY Oh, all right. It's going to be a very near thing, they
tell me.

ANNYS Yes, I shall be glad when it's over.

GEOFFREY It's always a trying time. What are you going to do, if
you win?

[LADY MOGTON looks in.]

LADY MOGTON [Seeing GEOFFREY.] Oh, good evening.

GEOFFREY Good evening.

LADY MOGTON Chilvers, 2,960--Annys Chilvers, 2,874.

[She disappears--closes door.]

ANNYS Perhaps I'm not going to win. [She goes to him, smiling.]
I hope you'll win. I would so much rather you won.

GEOFFREY Very kind of you. I'm afraid that won't make it a

ANNYS [His answer has hardened her again.] How can I? It would
not be fair. Without your consent I should never have entered upon
it. It was understood that the seat, in any case, would be yours.

GEOFFREY I would rather you considered yourself quite free. In
warfare it doesn't pay to be "fair" to one's enemy.

ANNYS [Still hardening.] Besides, there is no need. There will
be other opportunities. I can contest some other constituency. If
I win, claim the seat for that.

[A moment.]

GEOFFREY So this is only the beginning? You have decided to
devote yourself to a political career?

ANNYS Why not?

GEOFFREY If I were to ask you to abandon it, to come back to your
place at my side--helping me, strengthening me?

ANNYS You mean you would have me abandon my own task--merge myself
in you?

GEOFFREY Be my wife.

ANNYS It would not be right. I, too, have my work.

GEOFFREY If it takes you away from me?

ANNYS Why need it take me away from you? Why cannot we work
together for common ends, each in our own way?

GEOFFREY We talked like that before we tried it. Marriage is not
a partnership; it is a leadership.

ANNYS [She looks at him.] You mean--an ownership.

GEOFFREY Perhaps you're right. I didn't make it. I'm only--
beginning to understand it.

ANNYS And I too. It is not what I want.

GEOFFREY You mean its duties have become irksome to you.

ANNYS I mean I want to be the judge myself of what are my duties.

GEOFFREY I no longer count. You will go your way without me?

ANNYS I must go the way I think right.

GEOFFREY [He flings away.] If you win to-night you will do well
to make the most of it. Take my advice and claim the seat.

ANNYS [Looks at him puzzled.]


GEOFFREY Because [with a short, ugly laugh] the Lord only knows
when you'll get another opportunity.

ELIZABETH You are going to stop us?

GEOFFREY To stop women from going to the poll. The Bill will be
introduced on Monday. Carried through all its stages the same

ELIZABETH You think it will pass?

GEOFFREY The Whips assure me that it will.

ANNYS But they cannot, they dare not, without your assent. The--
[The light breaks in upon her.] Who is bringing it in?


ANNYS [Is going to speak.]

GEOFFREY [He stops her.] Oh, I'm prepared for all that--ridicule,
abuse. "Chilvers's Bill for the Better Regulation of Mrs.
Chilvers," they'll call it. I can hear their laughter. Yours
won't be among it.

ANNYS But, Geoffrey! What is the meaning? Merely to spite me,
are you going to betray a cause that you have professed belief in--
that you have fought for?

GEOFFREY Yes--if it is going to take you away from me. I want
you. No, I don't want a friend--"a fellow-worker"--some
interesting rival in well doing. I can get all that outside my
home. I want a wife. I want the woman I love to belong to me--to
be mine. I am not troubling about being up to date; I'm talking
what I feel--what every male creature must have felt since the
protoplasmic cell developed instincts. I want a woman to love--a
woman to work for--a woman to fight for--a woman to be a slave to.
But mine--mine, and nothing else. All the rest [he makes a
gesture] is talk.

[He closes the window, shutting out the hubbub of the crowd.]

ANNYS [A strange, new light has stolen in. She is bewildered,
groping.] But--all this is new between us. You have not talked
like this for--not since-- We were just good friends--comrades.

GEOFFREY And might have remained so, God knows! I suppose we're
made like that. So long as there was no danger passion slept. I
cannot explain it. I only know that now, beside the thought of
losing you, all else in the world seems meaningless. The Woman's
Movement! [He makes a gesture of contempt.] Men have wrecked
kingdoms for a woman before now--and will again. I want you! [He
comes to her.] Won't you come back to me, that we may build up the
home we used to dream of? Wasn't the old love good? What has this
new love to give you? Work that man can do better. The cause of
the women--the children! Has woman loved woman better than man?
Will the world be better for the children, man and woman
contending? Come back to me. Help me. Help me to fight for all
good women. Teach me how I may make the world better--for our

ANNYS [The light is in her eyes. She stands a moment. Her hands
are going out to him.]

ELIZABETH [She comes between them.] Yes, go to him. He will be
very good to you. Good men are kind to women, kind even to their
dogs. You will be among the pampered few! You will be happy. And
the others! What does it matter?

[They draw apart. She stands between them, the incarnation of the
spirit of sex war.]

The women that have not kind owners--the dogs that have not kind
masters--the dumb women, chained to their endless, unpaid drudgery!
Let them be content. What are they but man's chattel? To be
honoured if it pleases him, or to be cast into the dust. Man's
pauper! Bound by his laws, subject to his whim; her every hope,
her every aspiration, owed to his charity. She toils for him
without ceasing: it should be her "pleasure." She bears him
children, when he chooses to desire them. They are his to do as he
will by. Why seek to change it? Our man is kind. What have they
to do with us: the women beaten, driven, overtasked--the women
without hope or joy, the livers of grey lives that men may laugh
and spend--the women degraded lower than the beasts to pander to
the beast in man--the women outraged and abandoned, bearing to the
grave the burden of man's lust? Let them go their way. They are
but our sisters of sorrow. And we who could help them--we to whom
God has given the weapons: the brain, and the courage--we make
answer: "I have married a husband, and I cannot come."

[A silence.]

GEOFFREY Well, you have heard. [He makes a gesture.] What is
your answer?

ANNYS [She comes to him.] Don't you love me enough to humour me a
little--to put up with my vexing ways? I so want to help, to feel
I am doing just a little, to make the world kinder. I know you can
do it better, but I want so to be "in it." [She laughs.] Let us
forget all this. Wake up to-morrow morning with fresh hearts. You
will be Member for East Poplar. And then you shall help me to win
Manchester. [She puts her hands upon his breast: she would have
him take her in his arms.] I am not strong enough to fight alone.

GEOFFREY I want you. Let Manchester find some one else.

ANNYS [She draws away from him.] And if I cannot--will not?

GEOFFREY I bring in my Bill on Monday. We'll be quite frank about
it. That is my price--you. I want you!

ANNYS You mean it comes to that: a whole cause dependent on a man
and a woman!

GEOFFREY Yes, that is how the world is built. On each man and
woman. "How does it shape my life, my hopes?" So will each make

[LADY MOGTON enters. She stands silent.]

ELIZABETH Is it over?

LADY MOGTON Annys Chilvers, 3,604--Geoffrey Chilvers, 3,590.

[JANET enters.]

JANET [She rushes to ANNYS, embraces her.] You've won, you've
won! [She flies to the window, opens it, and goes out on to the

[PHOEBE enters, followed by MRS. MOUNTCALM-VILLIERS.]

PHOEBE Is it true?

LADY MOGTON Pretty close. Majority of 14.



[JANET by this time has announced the figures. There is heard a
great burst of cheering, renewed again and again.]

JANET [Re-entering.] They want you! They want you!

[Mingled with the cheering come cries of "Speech! Speech!"]

LADY MOGTON You must say something.

[The band strikes up "The Conquering Hero." The women crowd round
ANNYS, congratulating her. GEOFFREY stands apart.]

PHOEBE [Screaming above the din.] Put on your cloak.

JANET [Rushes and gets it.]

[They wrap it round her.]

[ANNYS goes out on to the balcony, followed by the other women.
ELIZABETH, going last, fires a parting smile of triumph at

[A renewed burst of cheering announces their arrival on the
balcony. The crowd bursts into "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow"--
the band, making a quick change, joins in. GEOFFREY remains

[JAWBONES enters unobserved. The singing ends with three cheers.
ANNYS is speaking. GEOFFREY turns and sees JAWBONES.]

GEOFFREY [With a smile.] Give me down my coat, will you?

JAWBONES [He is sympathetic. He helps him on with it.] Shall I
get you a cab, sir?

GEOFFREY No, thanks. I'll pick one up. [He goes towards the
door, then stops.] Is there any other way out--not through the
main entrance?

JAWBONES Yes, sir. There's a side door opening on Woodstock Road.
I'll show it you.

GEOFFREY Thanks. [He follows JAWBONES out.]

[A burst of cheering comes from the crowd.]



SCENE:- Russell Square. The morning-room [on the ground floor]. A
small, cheerful room, furnished in Chippendale, white panelled,
with Adams fireplace in which a bright fire is burning. Two deep
easy-chairs are before the fire. The window-curtains of red damask
are drawn. An oval table occupies the centre of the room. The
door at back opens upon the hall. Only one light burns, an
electric lamp on a table just above the fire.

TIME:- Midnight.

[The door opens. GEOFFREY enters. He has left his out-door things
in the hall. He crosses and rings the bell. A moment.]

[HAKE enters.]

GEOFFREY Oh, you, Hake! There wasn't any need for you to have

HAKE I was not sure of your arrangements. I thought perhaps I
might be wanted.

GEOFFREY Sorry. I ought to have told you.

HAKE It's been no inconvenience, sir. I told Mrs. Hake not to sit

GEOFFREY [He is opening and reading his letters left for him on
the table.] Does she generally sit up for you?

HAKE As a rule, sir. We like a little chat before going to bed.

GEOFFREY [His eyes on a letter.] What do you find to chat about?

HAKE Oh, there is so much for a husband and wife to talk about.
The-- As a rule.

[A clock on the mantelpiece strikes one.]

GEOFFREY What's that?

HAKE Quarter past twelve, sir.

GEOFFREY Has your mistress come in?

HAKE Not yet, sir. Has the election gone all right, sir?

GEOFFREY For Mrs. Chilvers, yes. She is now member for East

HAKE I am sorry. It has been a great surprise to me.

GEOFFREY The result?

HAKE The whole thing, sir. Such a sweet lady, we all thought her.

GEOFFREY Life, Hake, is a surprising affair.

[A ring is heard.]

I expect that's she. She has forgotten her key.

[HAKE goes out.]

[GEOFFREY continues his letters. A few moments pass; HAKE re-
enters, closes the door.]

HAKE [He seems puzzled.] It's a lady, sir

[GEOFFREY turns.]

HAKE At least--hardly a lady. A Mrs. Chinn.

GEOFFREY Mrs. Chinn! [He glances at his watch.] At twelve
o'clock at night. Well, all right. I'll see her.

[HAKE opens the door, speaks to MRS. CHINN. She enters, in bonnet
and shawl.]

HAKE Mrs. Chinn.

GEOFFREY Good evening, Mrs. Chinn.

MRS. CHINN Good evening, sir.

GEOFFREY You needn't stop, Hake. I shan't be wanting anything.

HAKE Thank you.

GEOFFREY Apologise for me to Mrs. Hake. Good-night.

HAKE Good-night, sir.

[HAKE goes out. A minute later the front door is heard to slam.]

GEOFFREY Won't you sit down? [He puts a chair for her left of the

MRS. CHINN [Seating herself.] Thank you, sir.

GEOFFREY [He half sits on the arm of the easy-chair below the
fire.] What's the trouble?

MRS. CHINN It's my boy, sir--my youngest. He's been taking money
that didn't belong to him.

GEOFFREY Um. Has it been going on for long?

MRS. CHINN About six months, sir. I only heard of it to-night.
You see, his wife died a year ago. She was such a good manager.
And after she was gone he seems to have got into debt.

GEOFFREY What were his wages?

MRS. CHINN Nineteen shillings a week, sir. And that with the rent
and three young children--well, it wants thinking out.

GEOFFREY From whom did he take the money--his employers?

MRS. CHINN Yes, sir. He was the carman. They had always trusted
him to collect the accounts.

GEOFFREY How much, would you say, was the defalcation?

MRS. CHINN I beg pardon, sir.

GEOFFREY How much does it amount to, the sums that he has taken?

MRS. CHINN Six pounds, sir, Mr. Cohen says it comes to.

GEOFFREY Won't they accept repayment?

MRS. CHINN Yes, sir. Mr. Cohen has been very nice about it. He
is going to let me pay it off by instalments.

GEOFFREY Well, then, that gets over most of the trouble.

MRS. CHINN Well, you see, sir, unfortunately, Mr. Cohen gave
information to the police the moment he discovered it.

GEOFFREY Umph! Can't he say he made a mistake?

MRS. CHINN They say it must go for trial, sir. That he can only
withdraw the charge in court.


MRS. CHINN You see, sir--a thing like that--[She recovers
herself.] It clings to a lad.

GEOFFREY What do you want me to do?

MRS. CHINN Well, sir, I thought that, perhaps--you see, sir, he
has got a brother in Canada who would help him; and I thought that
if I could ship him off -

GEOFFREY You want me to tip the wink to the police to look the
other way while you smuggle this young malefactor out of the
clutches of the law?

MRS. CHINN [Quite indifferent to the moral aspect of the case.]
If you would be so kind, sir.

GEOFFREY Umph! I suppose you know what you're doing; appealing
through your womanhood to man's weakness--employing "backstairs
influence" to gain your private ends, indifferent to the higher
issues of the public weal? All the things that are going to cease
when woman has the vote.

MRS. CHINN You see, sir, he's the youngest.

[Gradually the decent but dingy figure of MRS. CHINN has taken to
itself new shape. To GEOFFREY, it almost seems as though there
were growing out of the shadows over against him the figure of
great Artemis herself--Artemis of the Thousand Breasts. He had
returned home angry, bitter against all women. As she unfolds her
simple tale understanding comes to him. So long as there are "Mrs.
Chinns" in the world, Woman claims homage.]

GEOFFREY How many were there?

MRS. CHINN Ten altogether, six living.

GEOFFREY Been a bit of a struggle for you, hasn't it?

MRS. CHINN It has been a bit difficult, at times; especially after
their poor father died.

GEOFFREY How many were you left with?

MRS. CHINN Eight, sir.

GEOFFREY How on earth did you manage to keep them?

MRS. CHINN Well, you see, sir, the two eldest, they were earning a
little. I don't think I could have done it without that.

GEOFFREY Wasn't there any source from which you could have
obtained help? What was your husband?

MRS. CHINN He worked in the shipyards, sir. There was some talk
about it. But, of course, that always means taking the children
away from you.

GEOFFREY Would not that have been better for them?

MRS. CHINN Not always, sir. Of course, if I hadn't been able to
do my duty by them I should have had to. But, thank God, I've
always been strong.

GEOFFREY [He rises.] I will see what can be done.

MRS. CHINN Thank you, sir.

GEOFFREY [Half-way, he turns.] When does the next boat sail--for

MRS. CHINN To-morrow night, sir, from Glasgow. I have booked his

GEOFFREY [With a smile.] You seem to have taken everything for

MRS. CHINN You see, sir, it's the disgrace. All the others are
doing so well. It would upset them so.

[He goes out.]

[There is a moment.]

[ANNYS enters. She is wearing her outdoor things.]

ANNYS Mrs. Chinn!

MRS. CHINN [She has risen; she curtseys.] Good evening, ma'am.

ANNYS [She is taking off her hat.] Nothing wrong, is there?

MRS. CHINN My boy, ma'am, my youngest, has been getting into

ANNYS [She pauses, her hat in her hand.] They will, won't they?
It's nothing serious, I hope?

MRS. CHINN I think it will be all right, ma'am, thanks to your
good gentleman.

ANNYS [She lays aside her hat.] You have had a good many
children, haven't you, Mrs. Chinn?

MRS. CHINN Ten altogether, ma'am; six living.

ANNYS Can one love ten, all at once?

[The cloak has fallen aside. MRS. CHINN is a much experienced

MRS. CHINN Just as many as come, dear. God sends the love with

[There is a moment; the two women are very close to one another.
Then ANNYS gives a little cry and somehow their arms are round one

[She mothers her into the easy chair above the fire; places a
footstool under her feet.] You have your cry out, dearie, it will
do you good.

ANNYS You look so strong and great.

MRS. CHINN It's the tears, dearie. [She arranges the foot-stool.]
You keep your feet up.

[The handle of the door is heard. MRS. CHINN is standing beside
her own chair. She is putting back her handkerchief into her bag.]

[GEOFFREY re-enters.]

[ANNYS is hidden in the easy chair. He does not see her.]

GEOFFREY Well, Mrs. Chinn, an exhaustive search for the accused
will be commenced--next week.

MRS. CHINN Thank you, sir.

GEOFFREY What about the children--are they going with him?

MRS. CHINN No, sir; I thought he would be better without them till
everything is settled.

GEOFFREY Who is taking care of them--you?

MRS. CHINN Yes, sir.

GEOFFREY And the passage money--how much was that?

MRS. CHINN Four pound fifteen.

GEOFFREY Would you mind my coming in, as a friend?

MRS. CHINN Well, if you don't mind, I'd rather not. I've always
done everything for the children myself. It's been a fad of mine.

GEOFFREY [He makes a gesture of despair.] You mothers! You're so
greedy. [He holds out his hand, smiling.] Goodbye.

MRS. CHINN [She takes his hand in hers.] God bless you, sir. And
your good lady.

GEOFFREY [As he takes her to the door.] How will you get home?

MRS. CHINN I can get the Underground from Gower Street, sir.

[They go out talking about last trains and leaving the door open.
The next moment the front door is heard to slam.]

[GEOFFREY re-enters.]

[ANNYS has moved round, so that coming back into the room he finds
her there.]

GEOFFREY How long have you been in?

[He closes the door.]

ANNYS Only a few minutes--while you were at the telephone. I had
to rest for a little while. Dr. Whitby brought me back in his

GEOFFREY Was he down there?

ANNYS Phoebe had sent for him. I had been taken a little giddy
earlier in the day.

GEOFFREY [He grunts. He is fighting with his tenderness.] Don't
wonder at it. All this overwork and excitement.

ANNYS I'm afraid I've been hurting you.

GEOFFREY [Still growling.] Both been hurting each other, I

ANNYS [She smiles.] It's so easy to hurt those that love us.

[She makes a little movement, feebly stretches out her arms to him.
Wondering, he comes across to her. She draws him down beside her,
takes his arms and places them about her.] I want to feel that I
belong to you. That you are strong. That I can rest upon you.

GEOFFREY [He cannot understand.] But only an hour ago--[He looks
at her.] Have you, too, turned traitor to the Woman's Cause?

ANNYS [She answers smiling.] No. But woman, dear, is a much more
complicated person than I thought her. It is only in this hour
that God has revealed her to me. [She draws him closer.] I want
you, dear--dear husband. Take care of us--both, won't you? I love
you, I love you. I did not know how much.

GEOFFREY [He gathers her to him, kissing her, crooning over her.]
Oh, my dear, my dear! My little one, my love, my wife!

ANNYS [She is laughing, crying.] But, Geoffrey, dear -

[He tries to calm her.]

No, let me. I want to-- And then I'll be quite good, I promise--
It's only fair to warn you. When I'm strong and can think again, I
shall still want the vote. I shall want it more than ever.

GEOFFREY [He answers with a happy laugh, holding her in his arms.]

ANNYS You will help us? Because it's right, dear, isn't it? He
will be my child as well as yours. You will let me help you make
the world better for our child--and for all the children--and for
all the mothers--and for all the dear, kind men: you will, won't

GEOFFREY I thought you were drifting away from me: that strange
voices were calling you away from life and motherhood. God has
laughed at my fears. He has sent you back to me with His command.
We will fashion His world together, we two lovers, Man and Woman,
joined together in all things. It is His will. His chains are the
children's hands.

[Kneeling, he holds her in his arms.]


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