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Contents > Author > George Bernard Shaw > Heartbreak House (Act 2) 1856- 1950
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George Bernard Shaw
Heartbreak House (Act 2)
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ACT II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. He notices everything.

MANGAN. You don't mind, then?

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

MANGAN. Oh! you call it an engagement.

ELLIE. Well, isn't it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. Oh, not intentionally.

MANGAN. Yes I did. Ruined him on purpose.

ELLIE. On purpose!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANGAN. [rising aghast]. Why not!

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

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

ELLIE. [patiently]. Well?

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

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

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

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

MANGAN. You mean to hold me to it?

ELLIE. Do you wish to back out of it?

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

ELLIE. Well?

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. Who told you I was?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. She knows it.

MANGAN. You told her!!!

ELLIE. She told me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANGAN. He may, though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUINNESS. But why won't he wake?

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUINNESS. Hip no what, sir?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAZZINI. Well, I was asleep for eighteen hours.

MRS HUSHABYE. Were you any the worse for it?

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE [rather stolidly]. Sorry.

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE [scornfully]. Poor dear Mangan indeed!

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE. Then who manages his business, pray?

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

MRS HUSHABYE. Footling people, you mean.

MAZZINI. I suppose you'd think us so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE [shuddering involuntarily!!

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE. You are, sometimes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE [wearily]. He asked me to.

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE [very clearly and steadily]. Papa. When Mrs. Hushabye takes
it on herself to explain to you what I think or don't think, shut
your ears tight; and shut your eyes too. Hesione knows nothing
about me: she hasn't the least notion of the sort of person I am,
and never will. I promise you I won't do anything I don't want to
do and mean to do for my own sake.

MAZZINI. You are quite, quite sure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. I don't blame you for that.

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE. Poor little woman! Poor little situation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE [recoiling]. Oh!

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

MRS HUSHABYE [flaming]. You dare!

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

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

ELLIE [calmly]. I should pull your hair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANGAN [doggedly]. I believe in dreams.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANGAN. Well, you have a nerve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANGAN. She wants both.

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

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

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Whither away, Boss Mangan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. Good night, Alfred.

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

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

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

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

They contemplate him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE. Are you frightened, Alf?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE. What has happened?

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

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

HECTOR. One of my duelling pistols. Sorry.

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

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

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

MRS HUSHABYE. What will they do to him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LADY UTTERWORD. Really, Randall!

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

LADY UTTERWORD. But twenty pounds is ridiculous.

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

LADY UTTERWORD. Nonsense: you have your burgling kit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LADY UTTERWORD. What were you doing with my diamonds?

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

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

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

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Are you an honest man?

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

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

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

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Guinness, you remember this man?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RANDALL. Tyrant!

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

RANDALL. Another burglar may turn up.

MAZZINI. Oh, impossible! I hope not.

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

MRS HUSHABYE. What do you say, Alf?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HECTOR. Good heavens! What's the matter?

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. What on earth do you mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. Does nothing ever disturb you, Captain Shotover?

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

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

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

ELLIE. I am not in love with him.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Who said you were?

ELLIE. You are not surprised?

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Surprised! At my age!

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

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Money?

ELLIE. Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. I never thought of that before.

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

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

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

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

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

ELLIE. And I'm only just beginning.

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. Yes; so look ahead.

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

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

ELLIE. What's the difference?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER [stopping, startled]. What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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