You have got completely the better of me tonight, though I intended it to be the other way. Let us be good friends now.
MRS WARREN [shaking her head a little ruefully] So it has been the other way. But I suppose I must give in to it. I always got the worst of it from Liz; and now I suppose it’ll be the same with you.
VIVIE. Well, never mind. Come: good-night, dear old mother. [She takes her mother in her arms].
MRS WARREN [fondly] I brought you up well, didn’t I, dearie?
VIVIE. You did.
MRS WARREN. And youll be good to your poor old mother for it, won’t you?
VIVIE. I will, dear. [Kissing her] Good-night.
MRS WARREN [with unction] Blessings on my own dearie darling! a mother’s blessing!
[She embraces her daughter protectingly, instinctively looking upward for divine sanction.]
[In the Rectory garden next morning, with the sun shining from a cloudless sky. The garden wall has a five-barred wooden gate, wide enough to admit a carriage, in the middle. Beside the gate hangs a bell on a coiled spring, communicating with a pull outside. The carriage drive comes down the middle of the garden and then swerves to its left, where it ends in a little gravelled circus opposite the Rectory porch. Beyond the gate is seen the dusty high road, parallel with the wall, bounded on the farther side by a strip of turf and an unfenced pine wood. On the lawn, between the house and the drive, is a clipped yew tree, with a garden bench in its shade. On the opposite side the garden is shut in by a box hedge; and there is a little sundial on the turf, with an iron chair near it. A little path leads through the box hedge, behind the sundial.]
[Frank, seated on the chair near the sundial, on which he has placed the morning paper, is reading The Standard. His father comes from the house, red-eyed and shivery, and meets Frank’s eye with misgiving.]
FRANK [looking at his watch] Half-past eleven. Nice your for a rector to come down to breakfast!
REV. S. Don’t mock, Frank: don’t mock. I am a little—er—[Shivering]—
FRANK. Off color?
REV. S. [repudiating the expression] No, sir:
unwell this morning.
Where’s your mother?
FRANK. Don’t be alarmed: she’s not here. Gone to town by the 11.13 with Bessie. She left several messages for you. Do you feel equal to receiving them now, or shall I wait til you’ve breakfasted?
REV. S. I h a v e breakfasted, sir. I am surprised at your mother going to town when we have people staying with us. They’ll think it very strange.
FRANK. Possibly she has considered that. At all events, if Crofts is going to stay here, and you are going to sit up every night with him until four, recalling the incidents of your fiery youth, it is clearly my mother’s duty, as a prudent housekeeper, to go up to the stores and order a barrel of whisky and a few hundred siphons.