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Six, seven–Yes, Betty, what is it?

BETTY. If you please, ma’am, cook would like to speak to you for a minute.

(TREMAYNE _goes up_ R.C.)

BELINDA (_getting up_). Yes, I’ll come.

(BETTY _goes out, leaving the door open_. BELINDA _crosses Before the table_.)

(_To_ TREMAYNE.) You’ll forgive me, won’t you? You’ll find some cigarettes there. (_Points to table up_ R. TREMAYNE _moves by the back of the settee and holds the door for_ BELINDA. _She turns to him in the doorway_.) It’s probably about the lamb cutlets; I expect your little one refuses to be cooked.

(_She goes out after_ BETTY.)

(_Left alone_ TREMAYNE _stalks moodily about the room, crossing it and kicking things which come in his way. Violently, he kicks a hassock which is above the table_ R. _to under the table_ C., _then he takes up his hat and moves towards the swing doors and half opens them. He pauses and considers–then he comes down to the centre table, throws down his hat, moves round the left end of the table, finds the dog in the way and then sits on the table with his hands in his pockets, facing the audience. As he has been moving about the room, he has muttered the names of_ BAXTER _and_ DEVENISH.)

DEVENISH (_entering from the door_ R., _which he closes and goes to foot of the settee R.–surprised_). Hullo!

(_A pause_.)

TREMAYNE (_jealously, and rising_). Are you Mr. Devenish?


TREMAYNE. Devenish the poet?

DEVENISH (_coming up and shaking him warmly by the hand_). My dear fellow, you know my work?

TREMAYNE (_grimly_). My dear Mr. Devenish, your name is most familiar to me.

DEVENISH. I congratulate you. I thought your great-grand-children would be the first to hear of me.

TREMAYNE (_moving to_ L.). My name’s Robinson, by the way.

DEVENISH (_connecting him with_ DELIA). Then let me return the compliment, Robinson. Your name is familiar to me.

TREMAYNE (_hastily, and going towards_ DEVENISH). I don’t think I’m related to any Robinsons you know.

DEVENISH (_dubiously_). Well, no, I suppose not. When I was very much younger I began a collection of Robinsons. Actually it was only three days ago, but it seems much longer. (_Thinking of_ DELIA.) Many things have happened since then.

TREMAYNE (_uninterested, moving_ L.) Really!

DEVENISH. There is a man called Baxter–(TREMAYNE _displays his jealousy of_ BAXTER.) who is still collecting, I believe. For myself, I am only interested in one of the great family–Delia.

TREMAYNE (_eagerly, and going quickly to him and placing his hand on DEVENISH’S left shoulder_). You are interested in _her_?

DEVENISH. Devotedly. In fact, I am at this moment waiting for her to put on her hat.

TREMAYNE (_warmly, banging him on the shoulder with both hands_). My dear Devenish, I am delighted to make your acquaintance. (_He seizes his hand and grips it heartily_.) How are you? (DEVENISH _backs to the settee in pain_.)

DEVENISH (_sitting on settee, feeling his fingers_). Fairly well, thanks.

TREMAYNE (_sitting above him and banging him on the back_). That’s right.

DEVENISH (_still nursing his hand_). You are a very lucky fellow, Robinson.

TREMAYNE. In what way?

DEVENISH. People you meet must be so very reluctant to say good-bye to you. Have you ever tried strangling lions or anything like that?

TREMAYNE (_with a laugh_). Well, as a matter of fact, I have.

DEVENISH. I suppose you won all right?

TREMAYNE. In the end, with the help of my beater.

DEVENISH. Personally I should have backed you alone against any two ordinary lions.

TREMAYNE. One was quite enough. As it was, he gave me something to remember him by. (_Putting up his left sleeve, he displays a deep scar_.)

DEVENISH (_looking at it casually_). By Jove, that’s a nasty one! (_He suddenly catches sight of the mole and stares at it fascinated, then stares up at_ TREMAYNE.) Good heavens!

TREMAYNE. What’s the matter?

DEVENISH (_clasping his head_). Wait. (_Rising and moving up to L. _of_ TREMAYNE.) Let me think. (_After a pause_.) Have you ever met a man called Baxter?


DEVENISH. Would you like to?

TREMAYNE (_grimly_). Very much indeed.

DEVENISH. He’s the man I told you about who’s interested in Robinsons. He’ll be delighted to meet you. (_With a nervous laugh_.) Funny thing, he’s rather an authority on lions. You must show him that scar of yours; it will intrigue him immensely. (_Earnestly_.) _Don’t_ shake hands with him too heartily just at first; it might put him off the whole thing.

TREMAYNE. This Mr. Baxter seems to be a curious man.

DIVENISH (_absently_). Yes, he is rather odd. (_Looking at his watch_.) I wonder if I—-(_To_ TREMAYNE.) I suppose you won’t be– (_He stops suddenly. A slight tapping noise comes from the room where they keep umbrellas_.)

TREMAYNE. What’s that!

(_The tapping noise is repeated, a little more loudly this time. DEVENISH moves to end of table_.)

DEVENISH. Come in.

(_The door opens and_ BAXTER _comes in nervously, holding his bowler hat in his hand. He moves towards the swing doors_.)

BAXTER (_apologetically_). Oh, I just–(TREMAYNE _stands up_) –I just–(_He goes back again_.)

DEVENISH (_springing across the room_). Baxter!

(_The door opens nervously again and BAXTER’S head appears round it_.)

Come in, Baxter, old man; you’re just the very person I wanted.

(BAXTER _comes in carefully_. DEVENISH _closes the door_.)

Good man. (_To_ TREMAYNE, _taking_ BAXTER _down_ R., _and placing his arm round his shoulders_.) This is Mr. Baxter that I was telling you about.

(BAXTER _removes_ DEVENISH’S _arm from his shoulders_.)

TREMAYNE (_moving up to_ BAXTER _and much relieved at the appearance of his rival_). Oh, is this Mr. Baxter? (_Holding out his hand with great friendliness_.) How are you, Mr. Baxter?

DEVENISH (_warningly_). Steady!

(TREMAYNE _shakes_ BAXTER _quite gently by the hand_.)

Baxter, this is Mr. Robinson. (_Casually_.) R-o-b-i-n-s-o-n. (_He looks sideways at_ BAXTER _to see how he takes it_. BAXTER _is noticeably impressed_.)

BAXTER. Really? I am very glad to meet you, sir.

TREMAYNE. Very good of you to say so.

DEVENISH (_to_ BAXTER, _taking his arm_. BAXTER _is annoyed and gets free_). Robinson is a great big-game hunter.

BAXTER (_moving down to_ TREMAYNE). Indeed? I have never done anything in that way myself, but I’m sure it must be an absorbing pursuit.

TREMAYNE. Oh, well, it’s something to do.

DEVENISH (_to_ BAXTER). You must get him to tell you about a wrestle he had with a lion once. Extraordinary story! (_Looking at his watch suddenly_.) Jove! I must be off. See you again, Baxter. (_He bangs_ BAXTER _on the shoulder and moves down to_ TREMAYNE.) Good-bye, Robinson. No, don’t shake hands. I’m in a hurry. (_He looks at his watch again and goes out hurriedly by the door on the_ R.)

(TREMAYNE _sits on settee_ R. _and_ BAXTER _on chair_ R. _of_ C. _table. He puts his hat on the table_.)

TREMAYNE. Unusual man, your friend Devenish. I suppose it comes of being a poet.

BAXTER. I have no great liking for Mr. Devenish–

TREMAYNE. Oh, he’s all right.

BAXTER. But I am sure that if he is impressed by anything outside himself or his own works, it must be something rather remarkable. Pray tell me of your adventure with the lion.

TREMAYNE (_laughing_). Really, you mustn’t think that I go about telling everybody my adventures. It just happened to come up. I’m afraid I shook his hand rather more warmly than I meant, and he asked me if I’d ever tried strangling lions. That was all.

BAXTER. And had you?

TREMAYNE. Well, it just happened that I had.

BAXTER. Indeed! You came off scatheless, I trust?

TREMAYNE (_carelessly indicating his arm_). Well, he got me one across there.

BAXTER (_rising and coming to above_ TREMAYNE, _obviously excited_). Really, really. (_Points to his arm_.) One across there. Not bad, I hope?

TREMAYNE (_laughing_). Well, it doesn’t show unless I do that. (_He pulls up his sleeve carelessly and_ BAXTER _bends eagerly over his arm and sees the mole and very slowly looks up at_ TREMAYNE, _then down at the arm again, then up at_ TREMAYNE.)

BAXTER. Good heavens! I’ve found it! (_He runs over to the table and picks up his hat_.)

TREMAYNE. Found what? (_He pulls down his sleeve_.)

BAXTER (_going up_ L.). I must see Mrs. Tremayne. Where’s Mrs. Tremayne?

TREMAYNE. She went out just now. What’s the matter?

BAXTER. Out! I must find her. This is a matter of life and death. (_He hurries through the swing doors_.) Mrs. Tremayne! Mrs. Tremayne! (_He exits_ R. _through the garden_.)

(TREMAYNE _rises and moves to the swing doors, stares after him in amazement. Then he pulls up his sleeve, looks at his scar again and shakes his head. While he is still puzzling over it_, BELINDA _comes back_ R.)

BELINDA (_crossing below settee_). Such a to-do in the kitchen! The cook’s given notice–at least she will directly–(_up to_ TREMAYNE)–and your lamb cutlet slipped back to the shop when nobody was looking

(TREMAYNE _looks off at swing doors_)

and I’ve got to go into the village again, (_going to the refectory table and getting her hat_) and ok dear, oh dear, I have such a lot of things to do! (_Looking across at MR. BAXTER’S door_.) Oh yes, that’s another one. (_Coming back to table_ C. _and putting down her hat on R. side_.)

TREMAYNE. Belinda– (_Moving up to her_.)

BELINDA. No, not even Belinda. Wait till this evening.

TREMAYNE. I have a thousand things to say to you; I shall say them this evening.

BELINDA (_giving him her hand_). Begin about eight o’clock. Good-bye till then.

(_He takes her hand, looks at her for a moment, then suddenly bends and kisses it, takes up his hat and hurries through the swing doors and off through the garden to_ L.)

(BELINDA _stands looking from her hand to him, gives a little wondering exclamation and then presses the back of her hand against her cheek, and goes to the swing doors. She turns back, and remembers MR. BAXTER _again. With a smile she goes to the door and taps gently_.)

BELINDA. Mr. Baxter, Mr. Baxter, you may come in now; he has withdrawn. (_Moves down a little and then back to_ L. _of the door again_.) Mr. Baxter, I have unhanded him. (_She opens the door and going in, finds the room empty_.) Oh!

(BAXTER _comes quickly through the swing doors_.)

BAXTER (_meeting_ BELINDA _coming out of the cupboard_). Ah, (_they both start_) there you are! (_Crossing down to_ R. _end of_ C. _table, he puts down his hat_.)

BELINDA (_turning with a start_). Oh, how you frightened me, Mr. Baxter! I couldn’t think what had happened to you. (_She closes the door_.) I thought perhaps you’d been eaten up by one of the umbrellas.

BAXTER. Mrs. Tremayne, I have some wonderful news for you. I have found Miss Robinson’s father.

BELINDA (_on his_ L., _hardly understanding_). Miss Bobinson’s father?

BAXTER. Yes. _Mr_. Robinson.

BELINDA. Oh, you mean–(_Points to direction when TREMAYNE has gone_.) Oh yes, he told me his name was Robinson–Oh, but he’s no relation.

BAXTER. Wait! I saw his arm. By a subterfuge I managed to see his arm.

BELINDA (_her eyes opening more and more widely as she begins to realize_). You saw–

BAXTER. I saw the mole.

BELINDA (_coming down to him faintly as she holds out her own arm_). Show me.

BAXTER (_very decorously indicating_). There!

(BELINDA _holds the place with her other hand, and stitt looking at_ MR. BAXTER, _slowly begins to laugh–half-laughter, half-tears, wonderingly, happily, contentedly_.)

BELINDA (_moving to_ R. _of table and sitting_). And I didn’t know!

BAXTER (_moving to back of table_). Mrs. Tremayne, I am delighted to have done this service for your niece—-

BELINDA (_to herself_). Of course, _he_ knew all the time.

BAXTER (_to the world_). Still more am I delighted to have gained the victory over Mr. Devenish in this enterprise.

BELINDA. Eighteen years–but I _ought_ to have known.

BAXTER (_at large_). I shall not be accused of exaggerating when I say that the odds against such an enterprise were enormous.

BELINDA. Eighteen years—- And now I’ve eight whole _hours_ to wait!

BAXTER (_triumphantly_). It will be announced to-night. “Mr. Devenish,” I shall say, “young fellow—-” (_He arranges his speech in his mind_.)

BELINDA (_nodding to herself mischievously_). So I was right, after all! (_Slowly and triumphantly_.) He _does_ look better without a beard!

BAXTER (_with his hand on the back of the chair on the_ L. _side of the table_). “Mr. Devenish, young fellow, when you matched yourself against a man of my repute, when you matched yourself against a man– matched yourself against a man of my repute (_crossing towards fireplace_)

(BELINDA _rises stealthily, takes up her hat and exits through the swing doors and through the garden up_ R.)

when you matched yourself against a man who has read papers (_moving towards centre table_) at Soirees of the Royal Statistical Society—-” (_Looking round the room, he discovers that he is alone. He picks up his hat from the table and jams it down on his head_.) Unusual!

(_He moves up towards the swing doors_.)



_It is after dinner in BELINDA’S hall. The log fire, chandelier and wall brackets are all alight_. BELINDA _is lying on the Chesterfield with a coffee-cup in her hand_. DELIA, _in the chair down_ L. _below the fireplace, has picked up “The Lute of Love” from a table and is reading it impatiently. She also has a coffee-cup in her hand_.

DELIA (_throwing the book away_). What rubbish he writes!

BELINDA (_coming back from her thoughts_). Who, dear?

DELIA. Claude

(BELINDA _gives her a quick look of surprise_.)

–Mr. Devenish. (_She rises and stands by the fireplace with her cup in her hand_.) Of course, he’s very young.

BELINDA. So was Keats, darling.

DELIA. I don’t think Claude has had Keats’ advantages. Keats started life as an apothecary.

BELINDA. So much nicer than a chemist.

DELIA. Now, Claude started with nothing to do.

BELINDA (_mildly_). Do you always call him Claude, darling? I hope you aren’t going to grow into a flirt like that horrid Mrs. Tremayne.

DELIA. Silly mother! (_She moves to_ BELINDA, _takes her cup, then crosses to the table and places both the cups on the table– seriously_.) I don’t think he’ll ever be any good till he really gets work. Did you notice his hair this evening?

BELINDA (_dreamily_). Whose, dear?

DELIA (_going to the back of the Chesterfield and to the_ L. _of_ BELINDA). Mummy, look me in the eye and tell me you are not being bad.

BELINDA (_having playfully turned her head away and hidden her face with her handkerchief, says innocently_). Bad, darling?

DELIA (_moving down to the front of the fireplace_). You’ve made Mr. Robinson fall in love with you.

BELINDA (_happily_). Have I?

DELIA. Yes; it’s serious this time. He’s not like the other two.

BELINDA. However did you know that?

DELIA. Oh, I know.

BELINDA. Darling, I believe you’ve grown up. It’s quite time I settled down.

DELIA. With Mr. Robinson?

(BELINDA _sits up and looks thoughtfully at_ DELIA _for a little time_.)

BELINDA (_mysteriously_). Delia, are you prepared for a great secret to be revealed to you?

DELIA (_childishly and jumping on to the_ L. _arm of the Chesterfield facing_ BELINDA). Oh, I love secrets.

BELINDA (_reproachfully_). Darling, you mustn’t take it like that. This is a great, deep, dark secret; you’ll probably need your sal volatile.

DELIA (_excitedly_). Go on!

BELINDA. Well—- (_Looking round the room_.) Shall we have the lights down a little?

DELIA. Go on, mummy.

BELINDA. Well, Mr. Robinson is–(_impressively_)–is not quite the Robinson he appears to be.


BELINDA. In fact, child, he is—- Darling, hadn’t you better come and hold your mother’s hand?

DELIA (_struggling with some emotion and placing her hand on_ BELINDA’S _arm, who playfully smacks it_). Go on.

BELINDA. Well, Mr. Robinson is a–sort of relation of yours; in fact– (_playing with her rings and looking down coyly_)–he is your– father. (_She looks up at_ DELIA _to see how the news is being received_.) (DELIA _gives a happy laugh_.)

Dear one, this is not a matter for mirth.

DELIA. Darling, it is lovely, isn’t it? (_Sliding down to the seat of the Chesterfield next to_ BELINDA, _who moves along to make room for her_.) I am laughing because I am so happy.

BELINDA. Aren’t you surprised?

DELIA. No. You see, Claude told me this morning. (BELINDA _displays annoyance_.) He found out just before Mr. Baxter.

BELINDA. Well! Every one seems to have known except me.

DELIA. Didn’t you see how friendly father and I got at dinner? I thought I’d better start breaking the ice–because I suppose he’ll be kissing me directly.

BELINDA. Say you like him.

DELIA. I think he’s going to be awfully nice. (_She kisses_ BELINDA _and rises_.) Does he _know_ you know?

BELINDA. Not yet.

DELIA. Oh! (_She moves to the fireplace and warms her hands_.)

BELINDA. Just at present I’ve rather got Mr. Baxter on my mind. I suppose, darling, you wouldn’t like him as well as Mr. Devenish! (_Pathetically_.) You see, they’re so used to going about together.

DELIA. Claude is quite enough.

BELINDA. I think I must see Mr. Baxter and get it over. Do you mind if I have Mr. Devenish too? I feel more at home with both of them. I’ll give you him back. Oh dear, I feel so happy to-night! (_She jumps up and goes to_ DELIA.) And is my little girl going to be happy too? That’s what mothers always say on the stage. I think it’s so sweet.

(_They move together to below table_.)

DELIA (_smiling at her_). Yes, I think so, mummy. Of course, I’m not romantic like you. I expect I’m more like father, really.

BELINDA (_dreamily_). Jack can be romantic now. He was telling me this morning all about the people he has proposed to. I mean, I was telling him. Anyhow, he wasn’t a bit like a father. Of course, he doesn’t know he is a father yet. Darling, I think you might take him into the garden; only don’t let him know who he is. You see, he ought to propose to me first, oughtn’t he?

(_The men come in from_ R. TREMAYNE _goes to the foot of the settee R., DEVENISH to the back of the table up_ R., _while_ BAXTER _stands at the back of the settee_. BELINDA _moves to the front of the settee and DELIA sits on the table_.)

Here you all are! I do hope you haven’t been throwing away your cigars, because smoking is allowed all over the house.

TREMAYNE (_as he comes to the foot of the settee_). Oh, we’ve finished, thank you.

BELINDA (_going up to the swing doors and opening them_). Isn’t it a wonderful night?–and so warm for April. Delia, you must show Mr. Robinson the garden by moonlight–it’s the only light he hasn’t seen it by.

DEVENISH (_quickly coming to_ R. _back of table_ C.). I don’t think I’ve ever seen it by moonlight, Miss Delia.

BELINDA (_coming down a little_). I thought poets were always seeing things by moonlight.

BAXTER (_moving toward_ BELINDA). I was hoping, Mrs. Tremayne, that–er–perhaps—–

DELIA (_moving quickly to above_ TREMAYNE _and taking his_ L. _hand, and pulling him up stage to swing doors_). Come along, Mr. Robinson.

(TREMAYNE _looks at_ BELINDA, _who gives him a nod_. BELINDA _then moves down_ R.)

TREMAYNE (L. _of_ DELIA). It’s very kind of you, Miss Robinson. I suppose there is no chance of a nightingale?

BELINDA. There ought to be. I ordered one specially for Mr. Devenish.

(DELIA _and_ TREMAYNE _go out together_. BELINDA, _with a sigh, moves over to the Chesterfield and settles herself comfortably into it_. DEVENISH, _annoyed by_ TREMAYNE’S _attentions to_ DELIA, _crosses up angrily and looks off through the window up_ L. _above fireplace, then comes down_ L. _of the Chesterfield to the front of the fireplace_. BAXTER _moves up to the swing doors angrily watching_ DELIA _and_ TREMAYNE, _then moves to the window_ R. _and looks off_. BETTY _then enters with a salver from_ R. _She moves by the back of the settee to the back of the table_ C., _picks up the coffee-cups and goes out_ R. BAXTER _then moves over to the window facing the audience, up_ L. _He looks off, then comes down to the_ R. _of_ BELINDA.)

Now we’re together again. Well, Mr. Devenish?


BELINDA. No; I think I’ll let Mr. Baxter speak first. I know he’s longing to.

BAXTER (_leaning on the back of the chair_ L. _of table–he clears his throat_). H’r’m! Mrs. Tremayne, I beg formally to claim your hand.

BELINDA (_sweetly_). On what grounds, Mr. Baxter?

DEVENISH (_spiritedly_). Yes, sir, on what grounds?

BAXTER (_coming to_ R. _of Chesterfield, close to_ BELINDA). On the grounds that, as I told you this morning, I had succeeded in the quest.

DEVENISH (_appearing to be greatly surprised_). Succeeded?

BAXTER. Yes, Mr. Devenish, young fellow, you have lost. (_He moves a few paces_ R. _to below the chair_ L. _of the table_.) I have discovered the missing Mr. Robinson.

DEVENISH (_wiping hit brow and coming to_ BAXTER). Who–where–

BAXTER (_dramatically_). Miss Robinson has at this moment gone out with her father.

DEVENISH (_placing his hands heavily on_ BAXTER’S _shoulders, who staggers_). Good heavens! It was he!

(_BAXTER pats_ DEVENISH _sympathetically and moves to the back of the Chesterfield and is about to speak to_ BELINDA. _She, however, silences him and he drops down to the front of the fireplace_.)

BELINDA (_sympathetically_). Poor Mr. Devenish!

DEVENISH (_pointing tragically to the table_). And to think that I actually sat on that table–no, that seat (_he points to the settee_ R., _then he moves up stage between it and the table_)– that I sat there with him this morning, and never guessed! Why, ten minutes ago I was asking him for the nuts!

BAXTER. Aha, Devenish, you’re not so clever as you thought you were.

DEVENISH (_coming quickly to the back of the chair_ L. _of the table_). Why, I must have given you the clue myself! He told me he had a scar on his arm, and I never thought any more of it. And then I went away innocently and left you two talking about it.

BELINDA (_alarmed_). A scar on his arm?

DEVENISH. Where a lion mauled him.

(BELINDA _gives a little cry and shudder_.)

BAXTER. It’s quite healed up now, Mrs. Tremayne.

BELINDA (_looking at him admiringly_). A lion! What you two have adventured for my sake!

BAXTER. I suppose you will admit, Devenish, that I may fairly claim to have won?

(_Looking the picture of despair,_ DEVENISH _drops down_ L. _of the chair, droops his head, raises his arms and lets them fall hopelessly to his sides_.)

BELINDA. Mr. Devenish, I have never admired you so much as I do at this moment. (_She extends her_ R. _hand to_ DEVENISH, _who gropes for it with his_ L. _hand and eventually manages to seize it_.)

BAXTER (_noticing he is holding her hand, moving to them and looking at them quizzically–indignantly to_ DEVENISH). I say, you know, that’s not fair. It’s all very well to take your defeat like a man, but you mustn’t overdo it. (_They release their hands_.) Mrs. Tremayne, I claim the reward which I have earned.

BELINDA (_after a pause and rising_). Mr. Baxter–Mr. Devenish, I have something to tell you.

(DEVENISH _moves to her_ R.)

(BELINDA _kneels upon the Chesterfield facing them. Penitently_.) I have not been quite frank with you. I think you both ought to know that– I–I made a mistake. Delia is not my niece; she is my daughter. (_She buries her face in her hands_.)

DEVENISH. Your daughter! I say, how ripping!

(BELINDA _gives him an understanding look_.)

BAXTER. Your daughter!


BAXTER. But–but you aren’t old enough to have a daughter of that age.

BELINDA (_apologetically_). Well, there she is.

BAXTER. But–but she’s grown up.


BAXTER. Then in that case you must be—-(_He hesitates, evidently working it out_.)

BELINDA (_hastily_). I’m afraid so, Mr. Baxter.

BAXTER. But this makes a great difference. I had no idea. Why, when I’m fifty you would be—-

BELINDA (_sighing_). Yes, I suppose I should.

BAXTER. And when I’m sixty—-

BELINDA (_pleadingly to_ DEVENISH). Can’t you stop him?

DEVENISH (_with a threatening gesture_). Look here, Baxter, another word from you and you’ll never _get_ to sixty.

BAXTER. And then there’s Miss–er–Delia. In the event of our marrying, Mrs. Tremayne, she, I take it, would be my step-daughter.

BELINDA. I don’t think she would trouble us much, Mr. Baxter. (_With a sly look at_ DEVENISH.) I have an idea that she will be getting married before long. (_She again glances at_ DEVENISH, _who returns her look gratefully_.)

BAXTER (_moving up_ L. _into the inner room_). None the less, the fact would be disturbing.

(DEVENISH _with a wink at_ BELINDA _crosses in front of her and warms his hands at the fire_. BELINDA _watches_ BAXTER _over the back of the Chesterfield_.)

I have never yet considered myself seriously as a step-father. (_Moving round the refectory table_.) I don’t think I am going too far if I say that to some extent I have been deceived in this matter. (_He comes down to behind the_ C. _table_.)

BELINDA (_reproachfully_). And so have I. I thought you loved me.

DEVENISH (_sympathetically_). Yes, yes.

BELINDA (_turning to him suddenly_). And Mr. Devenish too.

BAXTER (_moving to_ BELINDA). Er—-


(_They stand before her guiltily and have nothing to say_.)

BELINDA (_with a shrug_). Well, I shall have to marry somebody else, that’s all.

BAXTER (_moving to below table_). Who? Who?

BELINDA. I suppose Mr. Robinson. After all, if I am Delia’s mother, and Mr. Baxter says that Mr. Robinson’s her father, it’s about time we _were_ married.

DEVENISH (_eagerly_). Mrs. Tremayne, what fools we are! He _is_ your husband all the time!


BAXTER (_moving up to the_ R. _of_ BELINDA). You’ve had a husband all the time?

BELINDA (_apologetically_). I lost him; it wasn’t my fault.

BAXTER. Really, this is very confusing. I don’t know where I am. I gather–I am to gather, it seems, that you are no longer eligible as a possible wife?

BELINDA. I am afraid not, Mr. Baxter.

BAXTER. But this is very confusing–(_moving towards the swing doors_)–this is very disturbing to a man of my age. For weeks past I have been regarding myself as a–a possible benedict. I have–ah–taken steps. (_Back to the_ L. _end of the_ C. _table_.) Only this morning, in writing to my housekeeper, I warned her that she might hear at any moment a most startling announcement.

DEVENISH (_cheerfully_). Oh, that’s all right. That might only mean that you were getting a new bowler-hat.

BAXTER (_dropping down_ L.C. _a few steps–suddenly_). Ah, and what about you, sir? How is it that you take this so lightly? (_Triumphantly_.) I have it. It all becomes clear to me. You have transferred your affections to her daughter!

DEVENISH. Oh, I say, Baxter, this is very crude.

BELINDA. And why should he not, Mr. Baxter? (_Softly_.) He has made me very happy.

BAXTER (_staggered_). He has made you happy, Mrs. Tremayne!

BELINDA. Very happy.

BAXTER (_thoughtfully_). Oh! Oh ho! Oh ho! (_He takes a turn up the room into the inner room, muttering to himself_. BELINDA _kneels and watches him over the back of the Chesterfield. Then he comes down again to her_ R. _side_.) Mrs. Tremayne, I have taken a great resolve. (_Solemnly_.) I also will make you happy. (_Thumping his heart_.) I also will woo Miss Delia.


DEVENISH. Look here, Baxter–

BAXTER (_suddenly crossing and seizing_ DEVENISH’S _arm and pulling him towards the siding doors up_ R. _between the Chesterfield and the table_). Come, we will seek Miss Delia together.

(BELINDA _seizes_ DEVENISH’S _hand as he is passing and he, clinging to it, nearly pulls her off the Chesterfield. She is very amused_.)

It may be that she will send us upon another quest in which I shall again be victorious.

(BELINDA _releases her hand and slips down into the Chesterfield. Tempestuously_.)

Come, I say–

(_He marches the resisting_ DEVENISH _to the swing doors_.)

Let us put it to the touch, to win or lose it all.

DEVENISH (_turning and appealing to_ BELINDA). Please!

BELINDA (_gently_). Mr. Baxter… Harold.

(BAXTER _stops and turns round_.)

You are too impetuous. I think that as Delia’s mother–

BAXTER (_coming down_ R. _to the foot of the_ C. _table_). Your pardon, Mrs. Tremayne. In the intoxication of the moment I am forgetting. (_Formally_.) I have the honour to ask your permission to pay my addresses–(_Moves to chair_ L. _of table_.)

BELINDA. No, no, I didn’t mean that. But, as Delia’s mother, I ought to warn you that she is hardly fitted to take the place of your housekeeper. She is not very domesticated.

BAXTER (_indignantly_). Not domesticated? (_Sits_ L. _of table_.) Why, did I not hear her tell her father at dinner that she had arranged all the flowers?

BELINDA. There are other things than flowers.

DEVENISH (_on_ BAXTER’S R., _behind the table_). Bed-socks, for instance, Baxter.

(BAXTER _is annoyed_.)

It’s a very tricky thing airing bed-socks. I am sure your house-keeper–

BAXTER (_silencing_ DEVENISH). Mrs. Tremayne, she will learn. The daughter of such a mother… I need say no more.

BELINDA. Oh, thank you. But there is something else, Mr. Baxter. You are not being quite fair to yourself. In starting out upon this simultaneous wooing, you forget that Mr. Devenish has already had his turn–(DEVENISH _tries to stop her_. BAXTER _turns round and nearly catches him_.)–this morning alone. You should have yours … alone … too.

DEVENISH. Oh, I say!

BAXTER. Yes, yes, you are right. I must introduce myself first as a suitor. I see that. (_Rising, to_ DEVENISH.) You stay here; _I_ will go alone into the garden, and–(_Moving below table and up to the swing doors_.)

BELINDA. It is perhaps a little cold out of doors for people of … of our age, Mr. Baxter. Now, in the library–

BAXTER (_at the swing doors, turning to her, astonished_). Library?


BAXTER (_moving down_ R. _a little_). You have a library?

BELINDA (_to_ DEVENISH). He doesn’t believe I have a library.

DEVENISH. You ought to see the library, Baxter.

BAXTER (_moving more down to below_ R. _of table_). But you are continually springing surprises on me this evening, Mrs. Tremayne. First a daughter, then a husband, and then–a library! I have been here three weeks, and I never knew you had a library. Dear me, I wonder how it is that I never saw it?

BELINDA (_modestly, rising_). I thought you came to see _me_.

BAXTER. Yes, yes, to see you, certainly. But if I had known you had a library ….

BELINDA. Oh, I am so glad I mentioned it. Wasn’t it lucky, Mr. Devenish?

BAXTER. My work has been greatly handicapped of late.

(DELIA _and_ TREMAYNE _enter the garden from up_ L. _and pass the window at the back_.)

BELINDA (_sweetly_). By me?

BAXTER. I was about to say by lack of certain books to which I wanted to refer. It would be a great help. (_He moves up R, reflectively muttering “Library.”_)

BELINDA (_moving below and to_ R. _of_ C. _table_). My dear Mr. Baxter, my whole library is at your disposal. (_She turns to_ DEVENISH, _who is on her_ L., _and at the back of the table. She speaks in a confidential whisper_.) I’m just going to show him the Encyclopedia Britannica. (_She moves below the settee to the door_ R.) You won’t mind waiting–Delia will be in directly.

(BAXTER, _still muttering “Library,” crosses to the door and opens it for her. She goes out and he follows her_. DEVENISH _moves to the R. of the swing doors and welcomes_ DELIA _and_ TREMAYNE. TREMAYNE _enters from the portico and holds open the swing doors for_ DELIA.)

DELIA (_speaking from the portico_). Hullo, we’re just coming in.

(_They enter and_ DELIA _moves down_ R. _of the table_.)

TREMAYNE. Where’s Mrs. Tremayne?

DEVENISH (_moving to down_ R.). She’s gone to the library with Baxter.

TREMAYNE (_coming down on_ DELIA’S R. _side–carelessly_). Oh, the library. Where’s that?

DEVENISH (_promptly going towards the door, opening it and standing above it_). The end door on the right.

(DELIA _sits on the_ R. _end of the table facing_ R.)

Right at the end. You can’t mistake it. On the right.

TREMAYNE. Ah, yes. (_He looks round at_ DELIA, _who points significantly at the door twice_.) Yes. (_He looks at_ DEVENISH.) Yes. (_He goes out_.)

(DEVENISH _hastily shuts the door and comes back to_ DELIA.)

DEVENISH. I say, your mother is a ripper.

DELIA (_enthusiastically_). Isn’t she! (_Remembering_.) At least, you mean my aunt?

DEVENISH (_smiling at her_). No, I mean your mother. To think that I once had the cheek to propose to her.

DELIA. Oh! Is it cheek to propose to people!

DEVENISH. To _her_.

DELIA. But not to me?

DEVENISH. Oh I say, Delia!

DELIA (_with great dignity_). Thank you, my name is Miss Robinson– I mean, Tremayne.

DEVENISH. Well, if you’re not quite sure which it is, it’s much safer to call you Delia.

DELIA (_smiling_). Well, perhaps it is.

DEVENISH. And if I did propose to you, you haven’t answered

DELIA (_sitting in the chair_ R. _of the table_). If you want an answer now, it’s no; but if you like to wait till next April—–

DEVENISH (_moving up to behind table–reproachfully_). Oh, I say, and I cut my hair for you the same afternoon. (_Turning quickly_.) You haven’t really told me how you like it yet.

DELIA. Oh, how bad of me! You look lovely.

DEVENISH (_sitting at back of the table_). And I promised to give up poetry for your sake.

DELIA. Perhaps I oughtn’t to have asked you that.

DEVENISH. As far as I’m concerned, Delia, I’ll do it gladly, but, of course, one has to think about posterity.

DELIA. But you needn’t be a poet. You could give posterity plenty to think about if you were a statesman.

DEVENISH. I don’t quite see your objection to poetry.

DELIA. You would be about the house so much. I want you to go away every day and do great things, and then come home in the evening and tell me all about it.

DEVENISH. Then you _are_ thinking of marrying me!

DELIA. Well, I was just thinking in case I had to.

DEVENISH (_he rises and taking her hands, raises her from the chair. She backs a step to_ R.). Do. It would be rather fun if you did. And look here–(_he pulls her gently back. They both sit on the table. He places his arm round her waist_)–I _will_ be a statesman, if you like, and go up to Downing Street every day, and come back in the evening and tell you all about it.

DELIA. How nice of you!

DEVENISH (_magnificently, holding up his_ L. _hand to Heaven_). Farewell, Parnassus!

DELIA (_pulling down his hand_). What does that mean?

DEVENISH. Well, it means that I’ve chucked poetry. A statesman’s life is the life for me; behold Mr. Devenish, the new M.P.–(_she holds up her_ L. _hand admonishingly and he laughs apologetically _)–no, look here, that was quite accidental.

DELIA (_smiling at him_). I believe I shall really like you when I get to know you.

DEVENISH. I don’t know if it’s you, or Devonshire, or the fact that I’ve had my hair cut, but I feel quite a different being from what I was three days ago.

DELIA. You _are_ different. (_They both rise from the table. She pulls him to_ R. _one step_.) Perhaps it’s your sense of humour coming back.

DEVENISH. Perhaps that’s it. It’s a curious feeling.

DELIA (_pulling him towards the swing doors_). Let’s go outside; there’s a heavenly moon.

DEVENISH. Moon? Moon? Now where have I heard that word before?

DELIA. What _do_ you mean?

DEVENISH. I was trying not to be a poet.

(DELIA _opens the doors_.)

Well, I’ll come with you, but I shall refuse to look at it. (_Putting his_ L. _hand behind his back, he walks slowly out with her, saying to himself_) The Prime Minister then left the House.

(_They cross the windows at the back and go off_ L.)

(BELINDA _and_ TREMAYNE _come from the library, the latter holding the door for her to pass_.)

BELINDA (_moving below the settee across the room_). Thank you. I don’t think it’s unkind to leave him, do you? He seemed quite happy.

TREMAYNE (_following her_). I shouldn’t have been happy if we’d stayed.

BELINDA (_reaching the Chesterfield she puts her feet up. Her head it towards_ L.). Yes, but I was really thinking of Mr. Baxter.

TREMAYNE (_above table_ C.). Not of me?

BELINDA. Well, I thought it was Mr. Baxter’s turn. Poor man, he’s had a disappointment lately.

TREMAYNE (_coming to B. of the Chesterfield–eagerly_). A disappointment?

BELINDA. Yes, he thought I was–younger than I was.

TREMAYNE (_smiling to himself_). How old are you, Belinda?

BELINDA (_dropping her eyes_). Twenty-two. (_After a pause_.) He thought I was eighteen. Such a disappointment!

TREMAYNE (_smiling openly at her_). Belinda, how old are you?

BELINDA. Just about the right age, Mr. Robinson.

TREMAYNE. The right age for what?

BELINDA. For this sort of conversation.

TREMAYNE. Shall I tell you how old you are?

BELINDA. Do you mean in figures or–poetically?

TREMAYNE. I meant—–

BELINDA. Mr. Devenish said I was as old as the–now, I must get this the right way round–as old as the—–

TREMAYNE. I don’t want to talk about Mr. Devenish.

BELINDA (_with a sigh_). Nobody ever does–except Mr. Devenish. As old as the stars, and as young as the dawn. (_Settling herself cosily_.) I think that’s rather a nice age to be, don’t you?

TREMAYNE. A very nice age to be.

BELINDA. It’s a pity he’s thrown me over for Delia; I shall miss that sort of thing rather. You don’t say those sort of things about your aunt-in-law—-not so often.

TREMAYNE (_eagerly_). He really is in love with Miss Robinson!

BELINDA. Oh yes. I expect he is out in the moonlight with her now, comparing her to Diana.

TREMAYNE. Well, that accounts for _him. _Now what about Baxter?

BELINDA. I thought I told you. Deeply disappointed to find that I was four years older than he expected, Mr. Baxter hurried from the drawing- room and buried himself in a column of the _Encyclopedia Britannica_.

TREMAYNE. Well, that settles Baxter. Are there any more men in the neighbourhood?

BELINDA (_shaking her head_). Isn’t it awful? I’ve only had those two for the last three weeks.

(TREMAYNE _sits on the back of the Chesterfield and looks down at her_.)

TREMAYNE. Belinda.

BELINDA. Yes, Henry!

TREMAYNE. My name is John.

BELINDA. Well, you never told me. I had to guess. Everybody thinks they can call me Belinda without giving me the least idea what their own names are. You were saying, John?

TREMAYNE. My friends call me Jack.

BELINDA. Jack Robinson. That’s the man who always goes away so quickly. I hope you’re making more of a stay?

TREMAYNE (_seizing her by both arms_). Oh, you maddening, maddening woman!

BELINDA. Well, I have to keep the conversation going. You do nothing but say “Belinda.”

TREMAYNE (_taking her hand_). Have you ever loved anybody seriously, Belinda?

BELINDA. I don’t ever do anything very seriously. The late Mr. Tremayne, my first husband–Jack—- Isn’t it funny, _his_ name was Jack–he used to complain about it too sometimes.

TREMAYNE (_with conviction_). Silly ass!

BELINDA. Ah, I think you are a little hard on the late Mr. Tremayne.

TREMAYNE. Belinda, I want you to marry me and forget about him.

BELINDA (_happily to herself and lying back_). This is the proposal that those lamb cutlets interrupted this morning.

TREMAYNE. Belinda, I love you–do you understand?

BELINDA. Suppose my first husband turns up suddenly like–like E. A.?

TREMAYNE. Like who?

BELINDA. Well, like anybody.

TREMAYNE. He won’t–I know he won’t. Don’t you love me enough to risk it, Belinda?

BELINDA. I haven’t really said I love you at all yet.

TREMAYNE. Well, say it now.

(BELINDA _looks at him, and then down again_.)

You do! Well, I’m going to have a kiss, anyway, (_He kisses her quickly–moves to_ L. _of Chesterfield_.) There!

BELINDA (_rising_). O-oh I The late Mr. Tremayne never did that. (_She powders her nose_.)

TREMAYNE. I have already told you that he was a silly ass. (_He makes a move as if to kiss her again_.)

BELINDA (_holding up her hand and sitting on the_ R. _side of the Chesterfield_). I shall scream for Mr. Baxter.

TREMAYNE (_sitting down on the Chesterfield, on her_ L, _side_.) Belinda—-

BELINDA. Yes, Henry–I mean, Jack?

TREMAYNE. Do you know who I am! (_He is thoroughly enjoying the surprise he is about to give her_.)

BELINDA (_nodding_). Yes, Jack.


BELINDA. Jack Tremayne.

TREMAYNE (_jumping up_). Good heavens, you _know_!

BELINDA (_gently_). Yes, Jack.

TREMAYNE (_angrily_). You’ve known all the time that I was your husband, and you’ve been playing with me and leading me on.

BELINDA (_mildly_). Well, darling, you knew all the time that I was your wife, and you’ve been making love to me and leading me on.

TREMAYNE. That’s different.

BELINDA (_to herself_). That’s just what the late Mr. Tremayne said, and then he slammed the door and went straight off to the Rocky Mountains and shot bears; and I didn’t see him again for eighteen years.

TREMAYNE (_remorsefully_). Darling, I was a fool then, and I’m a fool now.

BELINDA. I was a fool then, but I’m not such a fool now–I’m not going to let you go. It’s quite time I married and settled down.

TREMAYNE. You darling I (_He kisses her_.) How did you find out who I was?

BELINDA (_awkwardly_). Well, it was rather curious, darling. (_After a pause_.) It was April, and I felt all sort of Aprily, and–and–there was the garden all full of daffodils–and–and there was Mr. Baxter–the one we left in the library–knowing all about moles. He’s probably got the M. volume down now. Well, we were talking about them one day, and I happened to say that the late Mr. Tremayne–that was you, darling–had rather a peculiar one on his arm. And then he happened to see it this morning and told me about it.

TREMAYNE. What an extraordinary story!

BELINDA. Yes, darling; it’s really much more extraordinary than that. I think perhaps I’d better tell you the rest of it another time. (_Coaxingly_.) Now show me where the nasty lion scratched you.

(TREMAYNE _pulls up his sleeve_.) Oh! (_She kisses his arm_.) You shouldn’t have left Chelsea, darling.

TREMAYNE. I should never have found you if I hadn’t.

BELINDA (_squeezing his arm_). No, Jack, you wouldn’t. (_After a pause_.) I–I’ve got another little surprise for you if–if you’re ready for it. (_Standing up and moving to the chair_ L. _of the table_.) Properly speaking, I ought to be wearing white. I shall certainly stand up while I’m telling you. (_Modestly_.) Darling, we have a daughter–our little Delia. (_He is standing in front of the fireplace_.)

TREMAYNE. Delia? You said her name was Robinson.

BELINDA. Yes, darling, but you said yours was. One always takes one’s father’s name. Unless, of course, you were Lord Robinson.

TREMAYNE. But you said her name was Robinson before you–

(_She makes a playful move_.)

–Oh, never mind about that. A daughter? Belinda, how could you let me go and not tell me?

BELINDA. You forget how you’d slammed the door. It isn’t the sort of thing you shout through the window to a man on his way to America.

TREMAYNE (_taking her in his arms_). Oh, Belinda, don’t let me ever go away again.

(DEVENISH _and_ DELIA _enter from up_ L. _and pass the windows on the way to the swing doors_.)

BELINDA. I’m not going to, Jack. I’m going to settle down into a staid old married woman.

TREMAYNE. Oh no, you’re not. You’re going on just as you did before. And I’m going to propose to you every April, and win you, over all the other men in love with you.

BELINDA. You darling! (_They embrace_.)

(DELIA _and_ DEVENISH _come in from the garden_.)

TREMAYNE (_quietly to_ BELINDA). Our daughter.

DELIA (_going up to_ TREMAYNE). You’re my father.

TREMAYNE. If you don’t mind very much, Delia.

DELIA. You’ve been away a long time.

TREMAYNE. I’ll do my best to make up for it.

BELINDA. Delia, darling, I think you might kiss your poor old father.

(_As the does to,_ DEVENISH _suddenly and hastily kisses_ BELINDA _on the cheek_.)

DEVENISH. Just in case you’re going to be my mother-in-law.

TREMAYNE. We seem to be rather a family party.

BELINDA (_suddenly_). There! (_Moving to the door_ L.) We’ve forgotten Mr. Baxter again.

BAXTER (_who has come in quietly with a book in his hand_). Oh, don’t mind about me, Mrs. Tremayne. I’ve enjoyed myself immensely. (_He crosses to the arm-chair below the fireplace and places it in front of the fire_.)

(BELINDA _and_ TREMAYNE _move up into the inner room by the refectory table and embrace, their backs to_ BAXTER. DELIA _and_ DEVENISH _are by the swing doors. They also embrace, their backs to_ BAXTER.)

(_Referring to his book_.) I have been collecting some most valuable information on (looking round at them and sitting in the arm-chair and continuing to read) lunacy in the–er–county of Devonshire.

(_The_ CURTAIN _falls_.)