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Act II

Scene. Sitting room of Howard Knox--dimly lighted. Time, eight o'clock in the evening.

Entrance from hallway at side to right. At right rear is locked door leading to a room which dees not belong to Knox's suite. At rear center is fireplace. At left rear door leading to Knox's bedroom. At left are windows facing on street. Near these windows is a large library table littered with books, magazines, government reports, etc. To the right of center, midway forward, is a Hat-top desk. On it is a desk telephone. Behind it, so that one sitting in it faces audience, is revolving desk-chair. Also, on desk, are letters in their envelopes, etc. Against clear wall-spaces are bookcases and filing cabinets. Of special note is bookcase, containing large books, and not more than five feet high, which is against wall between fireplace and door to bedroom.

Curtain discloses empty stage.

(After a slight interval, door at right rear is shaken and agitated. After slight further interval, door is opened inward upon stage. A Man's head appears, cautiously looking around).

(Man enters, turns up lights, is followed by second Man. Both are clad decently, in knock-about business suits and starched collars, cuffs, etc. They are trim, deft, determined men).

(Following upon them, enters Hubbard. He looks about room, crosses to desk, picks up a letter, and reads address).


[Hubbard]

This is Knox's room all right

[First Man]

Trust us for that.

[Second Man]

We were lucky the guy with the whiskers moved out of that other room only this afternoon.

[First Man]

His key hadn't come down yet when I engaged it.

[Hubbard]

Well, get to work. That must be his bedroom.

(He goes to door of bedroom, opens, and peers in, turns on electric lights of bedroom, turns them out, then turns back to men.) You know what it is--a bunch of documents and letters. If we find it there is a clean five hundred each for you, in addition to your regular pay.

(While the conversation goes on, all three engage in a careful search of desk, drawers, filing cabinets, bookcases, etc.)

[Second Man]

Old Starkweather must want them bad.

[Hubbard]

Sh-h. Don't even breathe his name.

[Second Man]

His nibs is damned exclusive, ain't he?

[First Man]

I've never got a direct instruction from him, and I've worked for him longer than you.

[Second Man]

Yes, and you worked for him for over two years before you knew who was hiring you.

[Hubbard]

(To First Man.) You'd better go out in the hall and keep a watch for Knox. He may come in any time.

(First Man produces skeleton keys and goes to door at right. The first key opens it. Leaving door slightly ajar, he makes exit.)

(Desk telephone rings and startles Hubbard.)

[Second Man]

(Grinning at Hubbard's alarm.)

It's only the phone.

[Hubbard]

(Proceeding with search.) I suppose you've done lots of work for Stark--

[Second Man]

(Mimicking him.) Sh-h. Don't breathe his name.

(Telephone rings again and again, insistently, urgently.)

[Hubbard]

(Disguising his voice.) Hello--Yes.

(Shows surprise, seems to recognize the voice, and smiles knowingly.)

No, this is not Knox. Some mistake. Wrong number--

(Hanging up receiver and speaking to Second Man in natural voice.) She did hang up quick.

[Second Man]

You seemed to recognize her.

[Hubbard]

No, I only thought I did.

(A pause, while they search.)

[Second Man]

I've never spoken a word to his nibs in my life. And I've drawn his pay for years too.

[Hubbard]

What of it?

[Second Man]

(Complainingly.) He don't know I exist.

[Hubbard]

(Pulling open a desk drawer and examining contents.)

The pay's all right, isn't it?

[Second Man]

It sure is, but I guess I earn every cent of it. (First Man enters through door at right He moves hurriedly but cautiously. Shuts door behind him, but neglects to re-lock it.)

[First Man]

Somebody just left the elevator and is coming down the hall.

(Hubbard, First Man, and Second Man, all start for door at right rear.)

(First Man pauses and looks around to see if room is in order. Sees desk-drawer which Hubbard has neglected to close, goes back and closes it.)

(Hubbard and Second Man make exit.)

(First Man turns lights low and makes exit.)

(Sound of locking door is heard.)

(A pause.)

(A knocking at door to right. A pause. Then door opens and Gilford enters. He turns up lights, strolls about room, looks at watch, and sits down in chair near right of fireplace.) (Sound of key in lock of door to right.) (Door opens, and Knox enters, key in hand. Sees Gifford.)

[Knox]

(Advancing to meet him at fireplace and shaking hands.) How did you get in?

[Gifford]

I let myself in. The door was unlocked.

[Knox]

I must have forgotten it.

[Gifford]

(Drawing bundle of documents from inside breast pocket and handing them to Knox.) Well, there they are.

[Knox]

(Fingering them curiously.) You are sure they are originals? (Gifford nods.)

I can't take any chances, you know. If Gherst changed his mind after I gave my speech and refused to show the originals--such things have happened.

[Gifford]

That's what I told him. He was firm on giving duplicates, and for awhile it looked as if my trip to New York was wasted. But I stuck to my guns. It was originals or nothing with you, I said, and he finally gave in.

[Knox]

(Holding up documents.) I can't tell you what they mean to me, nor how grateful--

[Gifford]

(Interrupting.) That's all right. Don't mention it. Gherst is wild for the chance. It will do organized labor a heap of good. And you are able to say your own say at the same time. How's that compensation act coming on?

[Knox]

(Wearily.) The same old story. It will never come before the House. It is dying in committee. What can you expect of the Committee of Judiciary?--composed as it is of ex-railroad judges and ex-railroad lawyers.

[Gifford]

The railroad brotherhoods are keen on getting that bill through.

[Knox]

Well, they won't, and they never will until they learn to vote right. When will your labor leaders quit the strike and boycott and lead your men to political action?

[Gifford]

(Holding out hand.) Well, so long. I've got to trot, and I haven't time to tell you why I think political action would destroy the trade union movement.

(Knox tosses documents on top of low bookcase between fireplace and bedroom door, and starts to shake hands.) You're damn careless with those papers. You wouldn't be if you knew how much Gherst paid for them.

[Gifford]

You don't appreciate that other crowd. It stops at nothing.

[Knox]

I won't take my eyes off of them. And I'll take them to bed with me to-night for safety. Besides, there is no danger. Nobody but you knows I have them.

[Gifford]

(Proceeding toward door to right.) I'd hate to be in Starkweather's office when he discovers what's happened. There'll be some bad half hours for somebody. (Pausing at door.) Give them hell to-morrow, good and plenty. I'm going to be in a gallery. So long. (Makes exit.)

(Knox crosses to windows, which he opens, returns to desk, seats himself in revolving chair, and begins opening his correspondence. ) (A knock at door to right.)

[Knox]

Come in.

(Hubbard enters, advances to desk, but does not shake hands. They greet each other, and Hubbard sits down in chair to left of desk.) (Knox, still holding an open letter, re-volves chair so as to face his visitor. He waits for Hubbabd to speak.)

[Hubbard]

There is no use beating about the bush with a man like you. I know that. You are direct, and so am I. You know my position well enough to be assured that I am empowered to treat with you.

[Knox]

Oh, yes; I know.

[Hubbard]

What we want is to have you friendly.

[Knox]

That is easy enough. When the Interests become upright and honest--

[Hubbard]

Save that for your speech. We are talking privately. We can make it well worth your while--

[Knox] (Angrily.) If you think you can bribe me--

[Hubbard] (Suavely.) Not at all. Not the slightest suspicion of it. The point is this. You are a congressman. A congressman's career depends on his membership in good committees. At the present you are buried in the dead Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. If you say the word you can be appointed to the livest committee--

[Knox]

(Interrupting.) You have these appointments to give?

[Hubbard]

Surely. Else why should I be here? It can be managed.

[Knox]

(Meditatively.) I thought our government was rotten enough, but I never dreamed that House appointments were hawked around by the Interests in this fashion.

[Hubbard]

You have not given your answer.

[Knox]

You should have known my answer in advance.

[Hubbard]

There is an alternative. You are interested in social problems. You are a student of sociology. Those whom I represent are genuinely interested in you. We are prepared, so that you may pursue your researches more deeply--we are prepared to send you to Europe. There, in that vast sociological laboratory, far from the jangling strife of politics, you will have every opportunity to study. We are prepared to send you for a period of ten years. You will receive ten thousand dollars a year, and, in addition, the day your steamer leaves New York, you will receive a lump sum of one hundred thousand dollars.

[Knox]

And this is the way men are bought

[Hubbard]

It is purely an educational matter.

[Knox]

Now it is you who are beating about the bush.

[Hubbard]

(Decisively.) Very well then. What price do you set on yourself?

[Knox]

You want me to quit--to leave politics, everything? You want to buy my soul?

[Hubbard]

More than that. We want to buy those documents and letters.

[Knox]

(Showing a slight start.) What documents and letters?

[Hubbard]

You are beating around the bush in turn. There is no need for an honest man to lie even--

[Knox]

(Interrupting.) To you.

[Hubbard]

(Smiling.) Even to me. I watched you closely when I mentioned the letters. You gave yourself away. You knew I meant the letters stolen by Gherst from Starkweather's private files--the letters you intended using to-morrow.

[Knox]

Intend using to-morrow.

[Hubbard]

Precisely. It is the same thing. What is the price? Set it.

[Knox]

I have nothing to sell. I am not on the market.

[Hubbard]

One moment. Don't make up your mind hastily. You don't know with whom you have to deal. Those letters will not appear in your speech to-morrow. Take that from me. It would be far wiser to sell for a fortune than to get nothing for them and at the same time not use them.

(A knock at door to right startles Hubbard.)

[Knox]

(Intending to say, "Come in") Come--

[Hubbard]

(Interrupting.) Hush. Don't. I cannot be seen here.

[Knox]

(Laughing.) You fear the contamination of my company. (The knock is repeated.)

[Hubbard]

(In alarm, rising, as Knox purses his lips to bid them enter.) Don't let anybody in. I don't want to be seen here--with you. Besides, my presence will not put you in a good light.

[Knox]

(Also rising, starting toward door.) What I do is always open to the world. I see no one whom I should not permit the world to know I saw.

(Knox starts toward door to open it.) (Hubbabd, looking about him in alarm, flees across stage and into bedroom, closing the door. During all the following scene, Hubbard, from time to time, opens door, and peers out at what is going on.)

[Knox]

(Opening door, and recoiling.) Margaret! Mrs. Chalmers!

(Margaret enters, followed by Tommy and Linda. Margaret is in evening dress covered by evening cloak.)

[Margaret]

(Shaking hands with Knox.) Forgive me, but I had to see you. I could not get you on the telephone. I called and called, and the best I could do was to get the wrong number.

[Knox]

(Recovering from his astonishment.) Yes. I am glad.

(Seeing Tommy.) Hello, Tommy.

(Knox holds out his hand, and Tommy shakes it gravely. Linda stays in back-ground. Her face is troubled.)

[Tommy]

How do you do?

[Margaret]

There was no other way, and it was so necessary for me to warn you. I brought Tommy and Linda along to chaperon me.

(She looks curiously around room, specially indicating filing cabinets and the stacks of government reports on table.) Your laboratory.

[Knox]

Ah, if I were only as great a sociological wizard as Edison is a wizard in physical sciences.

[Margaret]

But you are. You labor more mightily than you admit--or dare to think. Oh, I know you--better than you do yourself.

[Tommy]

Do you read all those books?

[Knox]

Yes, I am still going to school and studying hard. What are you going to study to be when you grow up?

(Tommy meditates but does not answer.)

President of these great United States?

[Tommy]

(Shaking his head.) Father says the President doesn't amount to much.

[Knox]

Not a Lincoln?

(Tommy is in doubt.)

[Margaret]

But don't you remember what a great good man Lincoln was? You remember I told you?

[Tommy]

(Shaking his head slowly.) But I don't want to be killed.--I'll tell you what!

[Knox]

What?

[Tommy]

I want to be a senator like father. He makes them dance.

(Margaret is shocked, and Knox's eyes twinkle.)

[Knox]

Makes whom dance?

[Tommy] (Puzzled.) I don't know.

(With added confidence.) But he makes them dance just the same.

(Margaret makes a signal to Linda to take Tommy across the room.)

[Linda]

(Starting to cross stage to left.) Come, Tommy. Let us look out of the window.

[Tommy]

I'd rather talk with Mr. Knox.

[Margaret]

Please do, Tommy. Mamma wants to talk to Mr. Knox.

(Tommy yields, and crosses to right, where he joins Linda in looking out of the window.)

[Margaret]

You might ask me to take a seat

[Knox]

Oh! I beg pardon.

(He draws up a comfortable chair for her, and seats himself in desk-chair, facing her.)

[Margaret]

I have only a few minutes. Tom is at father's, and I am to pick him up there and go on to that dinner, after I've taken Tommy home.

[Knox]

But your maid?

[Margaret]

Linda? Wild horses could not drag from her anything that she thought would harm me. So intense is her fidelity that it almost shames me. I do not deserve it. But this is not what I came to you about.

(She speaks the following hurriedly.) After you left this afternoon, something happened. Father received a telegram. It seemed most important. His secretary followed upon the heels of the telegram. Father called Tom and Mr. Hubbard to him and they held a conference. I think they have discovered the loss of the documents, and that they believe you have them. I did not hear them mention your name, yet I am absolutely certain that they were talking about you. Also, I could tell from father's face that something was terribly wrong. Oh, be careful! Do be careful!

[Knox]

There is no danger, I assure you.

[Margaret]

But you do not know them. I tell you you do not know them. They will stop at nothing--at nothing. Father believes he is right in all that he does.

[Knox]

I know. That is what makes him so formidable. He has an ethical sanction.

[Margaret]

(Nodding.) It is his religion.

[Knox]

And, like any religion with a narrow-minded man, it runs to mania.

[Margaret]

He believes that civilization rests on him, and that it is his sacred duty to preserve civilization.

[Knox]

I know. I know.

[Margaret]

But you? But you? You are in danger.

[Knox]

No; I shall remain in to-night. To-morrow, in the broad light of midday, I shall proceed to the House and give my speech.

[Margaret]

(Wildly.) Oh, if anything should happen to you!

[Knox]

(Looking at her searchingly.) You do care?

(Margaret nods, with eyes suddenly downcast.) For Howard Knox, the reformer? Or for me, the man?

[Margaret]

(Impulsively.) Oh, why must a woman forever remain quiet? Why should I not tell you what you already know?--what you must already know? I do care for you--for man and reformer, both--for--

(She is aflame, but abruptly ceases and glances across at Tommy by the window, warned instinctively that she must not give way to love in her child's presence.)

Linda! Will you take Tommy down to the machine--

[Knox]

(Alarmed, interrupting, in low voice.) What are you doing?

[Margaret]

(Hushing Knox with a gesture.) I'll follow you right down.

(Linda and Tommy proceed across stage toward right exit.)

[Tommy]

(Pausing before Knox and gravely extending his hand.) Good evening, Mr. Knox.

[Knox]

(Awkwardly.) Good evening, Tommy. You take my word for it, and look up this Lincoln question.

[Tommy]

I shall. I'll ask father about it.

[Margaret]

(Significantly.) You attend to that, Linda. Nobody must know--this.

(Linda nods.)

(Linda and Tommy make exit to right.)

(Margaret, seated, slips back her cloak, revealing herself in evening gown, and looks at Knox sumptuously, lovingly, and willingly.)

[Knox]

(Inflamed by the sight of her.) Don't! Don't! I can't stand it. Such sight of you fills me with madness.

(Margaret laughs low and triumphantly.) I don't want to think of you as a woman. I must not. Allow me.

(He rises and attempts to draw cloak about her shoulders, but she resists him. Yet does he succeed in partly cloaking her.)

[Margaret]

I want you to see me as a woman. I want you to think of me as a woman. I want you mad for me.

(She holds out her arms, the cloak slipping from them.)

I want--don't you see what I want?----

(Knox sinks back in chair, attempting to shield his eyes with his hand.)

(Slipping cloak fully back from her again.)

Look at me.

[Knox]

(Looking, coming to his feet, and approaching her, with extended arms, murmuring softly.) Margaret. Margaret.

(Margaret rises to meet him, and they are clasped in each other's arms.)

(Hubbard, peering forth through door, looks at them with an expression of cynical amusement. His gaze wan-ders, and he sees the documents, within arm's reach, on top of bookcase. He picks up documents, holds them to the light of stage to glance at them, and, with triumphant expression on face, disappears and closes door.)

[Knox]

(Holding Margaret from him and looking at her.) I love you. I do love you. But I had resolved never to speak it, never to let you know.

[Margaret]

Silly man. I have known long that you loved me. You have told me so often and in so many ways. You could not look at me without telling me.

[Knox]

You saw?

[Margaret]

How could I help seeing? I was a woman. Only, with your voice you never spoke a word. Sit down, there, where I may look at you, and let me tell you. I shall do the speaking now.

(She urges him back into the desk-chair, and reseats herself.) (She makes as if to pull the cloak around 'her.) Shall I?

[Knox]

(Vehemently.) No, no! As you are. Let me feast my eyes upon you who are mine. I must be dreaming.

[Margaret]

(With a low, satisfied laugh of triumph.) Oh, you men! As of old, and as forever, you must be wooed through your senses. Did I display the wisdom of an Hypatia, the science of a Madam Curie, yet would you keep your iron control, throttling the voice of your heart with silence. But let me for a moment be Lilith, for a moment lay aside this garment constructed for the purpose of keeping out the chill of night, and on the instant you are fire and aflame, all voluble with love's desire.

[Knox]

(Protestingly.) Margaret! It is not fair!

[Margaret]

I love you--and--you?

[Knox]

(Fervently and reverently.) I love you.

[Margaret]

Then listen. I have told you of my girlhood and my dreams. I wanted to do what you are so nobly doing. And I did nothing. I could do nothing. I was not permitted. Always was I compelled to hold myself in check. It was to do what you are doing, that I married. And that, too, failed me. My husband became a henchman of the Interests, my own father's tool for the perpetuation of the evils against which I desired to fight.

(She pauses.) It has been a long fight, and I have been very tired, for always did I confront failure. My husband--I did not love him. I never loved him. I sold myself for the Cause, and the cause profited nothing. (Pause.) Often, I have lost faith--faith in everything, in God and man, in the hope of any righteousness ever prevailing. But again and again, by what you are doing, have you awakened me. I came to-night with no thought of self. I came to warn you, to help the good work on. I remained--thank God!--I remained to love you--and to be loved by you. I suddenly found myself, looking at you, very weary. I wanted you--you, more than anything in the world.

(She holds out her arms.) Come to me. I want you--now.

(Knox, in an ecstacy, comes to her. He seats himself on the broad arm of the chair and is drawn into her arms.)

[Knox]

But I have been tired at times. I was very tired to-night--and you came. And now I am glad, only glad.

[Margaret]

I have been wanton to-night. I confess it. I am proud of it. But it was not--professional. It was the first time in my life. Almost do I regret--almost do I regret that I did not do it sooner--it has been crowned with such success. You have held me in your arms--your arms. Oh, you will never know what that first embrace meant to me. I am not a clod. I am not iron nor stone. I am a woman--a warm, breathing woman--.

(She rises, and draws him to his feet.)

Kiss me, my dear lord and lover. Kiss me. (They embrace.)

[Knox]

(Passionately, looking about him wildly as if in search of something.) What shall we do?

(Suddenly releasing her and sinking back in his own chair almost in collapse.) No. It cannot be. It is impossible. Oh, why could we not have met long ago? We would have worked together. What a comradeship it would have been.

[Margaret]

But it is not too late.

[Knox]

I have no right to you.

[Margaret]

(Misunderstanding. ) My husband? He has not been my husband for years. He has no rights. Who, but you whom I love, has any rights?

[Knox]

No; it is not that.

(Snapping his fingers.) That for him.

(Breaking down.) Oh, if I were only the man, and not the reformer! If I had no work to do!

[Margaret]

(Coming to the back of his chair and caressing his hair.) We can work together.

[Knox]

(Shaking his head under her fingers.) Don't! Don't!

(She persists, and lays her cheek against his.) You make it so hard. You tempt me so.

(He rises suddenly, takes her two hands in his, leads her gently to her chair, seats her, and reseats himself in desk-chair.) Listen. It is not your husband. But I have no right to you. Nor have you a right to me.

[Margaret]

(Interrupting, jealously.) And who but I has any right to you?

[Knox]

(Smiling sadly.) No; it is not that. There is no other woman. You are the one woman for me. But there are many others who have greater rights in me than you. I have been chosen by two hundred thousand citizens to represent them in the Congress of the United States. And there are many more--

(He breaks off suddenly and looks at her, at her arms and shoulders.) Yes, please. Cover them up. Help me not to forget.

(Margaret does not obey.) There are many more who have rights in me--the people, all the people, whose cause I have made mine. The children--there are two million child laborers in these United States. I cannot betray them. I cannot steal my happiness from them. This afternoon I talked of theft. But would not this, too, be theft?

[Margaret]

(Sharply.) Howard! Wake up! Has our happiness turned your head?

[Knox]

(Sadly.) Almost--and for a few wild moments, quite. There are all the children. Did I ever tell you of the tenement child, who when asked how he knew when spring came, answered: When he saw the saloons put up their swing doors.

[Margaret]

(Irritated.) But what has all that to do with one man and one woman loving?

[Knox]

Suppose we loved--you and I; suppose we loosed all the reins of our love. What would happen? You remember Gorki, the Russian patriot, when he came to New York, aflame with passion for the Russian revolution. His purpose in visiting the land of liberty was to raise funds for that revolution. And because his marriage to the woman he loved was not of the essentially legal sort worshiped by the shopkeepers, and because the newspapers made a sensation of it, his whole mission was brought to failure. He was laughed and derided out of the esteem of the American people. That is what would happen to me. I should be slandered and laughed at. My power would be gone.

[Margaret]

And even if so--what of it? Be slandered and laughed at. We will have each other. Other men will rise up to lead the people, and leading the people is a thankless task. Life is so short. We must clutch for the morsel of happiness that may be ours.

[Knox]

Ah, if you knew, as I look into your eyes, how easy it would be to throw everything to the winds. But it would be theft.

[Margaret]

(Rebelliously.) Let it be theft. Life is so short, dear. We are the biggest facts in the world--to each other.

[Knox]

It is not myself alone, nor all my people. A moment ago you said no one but I had any right to you. You were wrong. Your child--

[Margaret]

(In sudden pain, pleadingly.) Don't!

[Knox]

I must. I must save myself--and you. Tommy has rights in you. Theft again. What other name for it if you steal your happiness from him?

[Margaret]

(Bending her head forward on her hand and weeping.) I have been so lonely--and then you--you came, and the world grew bright and warm--a few short minutes ago you held me--in your arms--a few short minutes ago and it seemed my dream of happiness had come true--and now you dash it from me--

[Knox]

(Struggling to control himself now that she is no longer looking at him.) No; I ask you to dash it from yourself. I am not too strong. You must help me. You must call your child to your aid in helping me. I could go mad for you now--

(Rising impulsively and coming to her with arms outstretched to clasp her.) Right now--

[Margaret]

(Abruptly raising her head, and with one outstretched arm preventing the embrace.) Wait.

(She bows her head on her hand for a moment, to think and to win control of herself.)

(Lifting her head and looking at him.) Sit down--please.

(Knox reseats himself.)

(A pause, during which she looks at him and loves him.) Dear, I do so love you--

(Knox loses control and starts to rise.) No! Sit there. I was weak. Yet I am not sorry. You are right. We must forego each other. We cannot be thieves, even for love's sake. Yet I am glad that this has happened--that I have lain in your arms and had your lips on mine. The memory of it will be sweet always.

(She draws her cloak around her, and rises.)

(Knox rises.) You are right. The future belongs to the children. There lies duty--yours, and mine in my small way. I am going now. We must not see each other ever again. We must work--and forget. But remember, my heart goes with you into the fight. My prayers will accompany every stroke.

(She hesitates, pauses, draws her cloak thoroughly around her in evidence of departure.) Dear--will you kiss me--once--one last time? (There is no passion in this kiss, which is the kiss of renunciation. Margaret herself terminates the embrace.)

(Knox accompanies her silently to the door and places hand on knob.) I wish I had something of you to have with me always--a photograph, that little one, you remember, which I liked so. (She nods.) Don't run the risk of sending it by messenger. Just mail it ordinarily.

[Margaret]

I shall mail it to-morrow. I'll drop it in the box myself.

[Knox]

(Kissing her hand.) Good-bye.

[Margaret]

(lingeringly.) But oh, my dear, I am glad and proud for what has happened. I would not erase a single line of it.

(She indicates for Knox to open door, which he does, but which he immediately closes as she continues speaking.) There must be immortality. There must be a future life where you and I shall meet again. Good-bye.

(They press each other's hands.)

(Exit Margaret.)

(Knox stands a moment, staring at closed door, turns and looks about him indecisively, sees chair in which Margaret sat, goes over to it, kneels down, and buries his face.)

(Door to bedroom opens slowly and Hubbard peers out cautiously. He cannot see Knox.)

[Hubbard]

(Advancing, surprised.) What the deuce? Everybody gone?

[Knox]

(Startled to his feet.) Where the devil did you come from?

[Hubbard]

(Indicating bedroom.) In there. I was in there all the time.

[Knox]

(Endeavoring to pass it off.) Oh, I had forgotten about you. Well, my callers are gone.

[Hubbard]

(Walking over close to him and laughing at him with affected amusement.) Honest men are such dubs when they do go wrong.

[Knox]

The door was closed all the time. You would not have dared to spy upon me.

[Hubbard]

There was something familiar about the lady's voice.

[Knox]

You heard!--what did you hear?

[Hubbard]

Oh, nothing, nothing--a murmur of voices--and the woman's--I could swear I have heard her voice before.

(Knox shows his relief.) Well, so long.

(Starts to move toward exit to right.) You won't reconsider your decision?

[Knox]

(Shaking his head.)

[Hubbard]

(Pausing, open door in hand, and laughing cynically.) And yet it was but a moment ago that it seemed I heard you say there was no one whom you would not permit the world to know you saw.

(Starting.) What do you mean?

[Hubbard]

Good-bye.

(Hubbard makes exit and closes door.) (Knox wanders aimlessly to his desk, glances at the letter he was reading of which had been interrupted by Hubbard's entry of first act, suddenly recollects the package of documents, and walks to low bookcase and looks on top.)

[Knox]

(Stunned.) The thief!

(He looks about him wildly, then rushes like a madman in pursuit of Hubbard, making exit to right and leaving the door Hying open.) (Empty stage for a moment.)

Curtain


Jack London

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