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Scene III.

TWO MONTHS LATER

WANDA'S room. Daylight is just beginning to fail of a January afternoon. The table is laid for supper, with decanters of wine.

WANDA is standing at the window looking out at the wintry trees of the Square beyond the pavement. A newspaper Boy's voice is heard coming nearer.

VOICE
Pyper! Glove Lyne murder! Trial and verdict! [Receding] Verdict! Pyper!

WANDA throws up the window as if to call to him, checks herself, closes it and runs to the door. She opens it, but recoils into the room. KEITH is standing there. He comes in.

KEITH
Where's Larry?

WANDA
He went to the trial. I could not keep him from it. The trial--Oh! what has happened, sir?

KEITH
[Savagely] Guilty! Sentence of death! Fools!--idiots!

WANDA
Of death! [For a moment she seems about to swoon.]

KEITH
Girl! girl! It may all depend on you. Larry's still living here?

WANDA
Yes.

KEITH
I must wait for him.

WANDA
Will you sit down, please?

KEITH
[Shaking his head] Are you ready to go away at any time?

WANDA
Yes, yes; always I am ready.

KEITH
And he?

WANDA
Yes--but now! What will he do? That poor man!

KEITH
A graveyard thief--a ghoul!

WANDA
Perhaps he was hungry. I have been hungry: you do things then that you would not. Larry has thought of him in prison so much all these weeks. Oh! what shall we do now?

KEITH
Listen! Help me. Don't let Larry out of your sight. I must see how things go. They'll never hang this wretch. [He grips her arms] Now, we must stop Larry from giving himself up. He's fool enough. D'you understand?

WANDA
Yes. But why has he not come in? Oh! If he have, already!

KEITH
[Letting go her arms] My God! If the police come--find me here--[He moves to the door] No, he wouldn't without seeing you first. He's sure to come. Watch him like a lynx. Don't let him go without you.

WANDA
[Clasping her hands on her breast] I will try, sir.

KEITH
Listen!

[A key is heard in the lock.]

It's he!

LARRY enters. He is holding a great bunch of pink lilies and white narcissus. His face tells nothing. KEITH looks from him to the girl, who stands motionless.

LARRY
Keith! So you've seen?

KEITH
The thing can't stand. I'll stop it somehow. But you must give me time, Larry.

LARRY
[Calmly] Still looking after your honour, KEITH!

KEITH
[Grimly] Think my reasons what you like.

WANDA
[Softly] Larry!

[LARRY puts his arm round her.]

LARRY
Sorry, old man.

KEITH
Tnis man can and shall get off. I want your solemn promise that you won't give yourself up, nor even go out till I've seen you again.

LARRY
I give it.

KEITH
[Looking from one to the other] By the memory of our mother, swear that.

LARRY
[With a smile] I swear.

KEITH
I have your oath--both of you--both of you. I'm going at once to see what can be done.

LARRY
[Softly] Good luck, brother.

KEITH goes out.

WANDA
[Putting her hands on LARRY's breast] What does it mean?

LARRY
Supper, child--I've had nothing all day. Put these lilies in water.

[She takes the lilies and obediently puts them into a vase. LARRY pours wine into a deep-coloured glass and drinks it off.]

We've had a good time, Wanda. Best time I ever had, these last two months; and nothing but the bill to pay.

WANDA
[Clasping him desperately] Oh, Larry! Larry!

LARRY
[Holding her away to look at her.] Take off those things and put on a bridal garment.

WANDA
Promise me--wherever you go, I go too. Promise! Larry, you think I haven't seen, all these weeks. But I have seen everything; all in your heart, always. You cannot hide from me. I knew--I knew! Oh, if we might go away into the sun! Oh! Larry--couldn't we? [She searches his eyes with hers--then shuddering] Well! If it must be dark--I don't care, if I may go in your arms. In prison we could not be together. I am ready. Only love me first. Don't let me cry before I go. Oh! Larry, will there be much pain?

LARRY
[In a choked voice] No pain, my pretty.

WANDA
[With a little sigh] It is a pity.

LARRY
If you had seen him, as I have, all day, being tortured. Wanda, --we shall be out of it. [The wine mounting to his head] We shall be free in the dark; free of their cursed inhumanities. I hate this world--I loathe it! I hate its God-forsaken savagery; its pride and smugness! Keith's world--all righteous will-power and success. We're no good here, you and I--we were cast out at birth--soft, will-less--better dead. No fear, Keith! I'm staying indoors. [He pours wine into two glasses] Drink it up!

[Obediently WANDA drinks, and he also.]

Now go and make yourself beautiful.

WANDA
[Seizing him in her arms] Oh, Larry,!

LARRY
[Touching her face and hair] Hanged by the neck until he's dead--for what I did.

[WANDA takes a long look at his face, slips her arms from him, and goes out through the curtains below the fireplace.]

[LARRY feels in his pocket, brings out the little box, opens it, fingers the white tabloids.]

LARRY
Two each--after food. [He laughs and puts back the box] Oh! my girl!

[The sound of a piano playing a faint festive tune is heard afar off. He mutters, staring at the fire.]

[Flames-flame, and flicker-ashes.]

"No more, no more, the moon is dead, And all the people in it."

[He sits on the couch with a piece of paper on his knees, adding a few words with a stylo pen to what is already written.]

[The GIRL, in a silk wrapper, coming back through the curtains, watches him.]

LARRY
[Looking up] It's all here--I've confessed. [Reading] "Please bury us together."

"LAURENCE DARRANT.
"January 28th, about six p.m."

They'll find us in the morning. Come and have supper, my dear love.

[The girl creeps forward. He rises, puts his arm round her, and with her arm twined round him, smiling into each other's faces, they go to the table and sit down.]

The curtain falls for a few seconds to indicate the passage of three hours. When it rises again, the lovers are lying on the couch, in each other's arms, the lilies stream about them. The girl's bare arm is round LARRY'S neck. Her eyes are closed; his are open and sightless. There is no light but fire-light.

A knocking on the door and the sound of a key turned in the lock. KEITH enters. He stands a moment bewildered by the half- light, then calls sharply: "Larry!" and turns up the light. Seeing the forms on the couch, he recoils a moment. Then, glancing at the table and empty decanters, goes up to the couch.

KEITH
[Muttering] Asleep! Drunk! Ugh!

[Suddenly he bends, touches LARRY, and springs back.]

What! [He bends again, shakes him and calls] Larry! Larry!

[Then, motionless, he stares down at his brother's open, sightless eyes. Suddenly he wets his finger and holds it to the girl's lips, then to LARRY'S.]

[He bends and listens at their hearts; catches sight of the little box lying between them and takes it up.]

My God!

[Then, raising himself, he closes his brother's eyes, and as he does so, catches sight of a paper pinned to the couch; detaches it and reads:]

"I, Lawrence Darrant, about to die by my own hand confess that I----"

[He reads on silently, in horror; finishes, letting the paper drop, and recoils from the couch on to a chair at the dishevelled supper table. Aghast, he sits there. Suddenly he mutters:]

If I leave that there--my name--my whole future!

[He springs up, takes up the paper again, and again reads.]

My God! It's ruin!

[He makes as if to tear it across, stops, and looks down at those two; covers his eyes with his hand; drops the paper and rushes to the door. But he stops there and comes back, magnetised, as it were, by that paper. He takes it up once more and thrusts it into his pocket.]

[The footsteps of a Policeman pass, slow and regular, outside. His face crisps and quivers; he stands listening till they die away. Then he snatches the paper from his pocket, and goes past the foot of the couch to the fore.]

All my---- No! Let him hang!

[He thrusts the paper into the fire, stamps it down with his foot, watches it writhe and blacken. Then suddenly clutching his head, he turns to the bodies on the couch. Panting and like a man demented, he recoils past the head of the couch, and rushing to the window, draws the curtains and throws the window up for air. Out in the darkness rises the witch-like skeleton tree, where a dark shape seems hanging. KEITH starts back.]

What's that? What----!

[He shuts the window and draws the dark curtains across it again.]

Fool! Nothing!

[Clenching his fists, he draws himself up, steadying himself with all his might. Then slowly he moves to the door, stands a second like a carved figure, his face hard as stone.]

[Deliberately he turns out the light, opens the door, and goes.]

[The still bodies lie there before the fire which is licking at the last blackened wafer.]

CURTAIN

John Galsworthy

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