Well, what do you say?
MAMSON [slowly]. Let us clearly understand one another. I am to lend you my name—just my name—and you are to do all the rest.
BISHOP [quickly]. Oh yes: I’d rather you kept out of the business negotiations!
MANSON. It is rather a dangerous name to play with!
BISHOP, I take that responsibility entirely upon myself!
MANSON. And when all’s over and done with, what are we going to gain out of the transaction?
BISHOP. We shall have to come to some private settlement between ourselves.
BISHOP. Oh, hereafter.
MANSON. Hereafter, then.
[Enter AUNTIE and VICAR by door to right.]
AUNTIE [off]. Leave him to me, William! I’ll soon settle the matter! [Entering.] The man must be possessed of some evil spirit! . . .
Why—it’s my brother James! . . .
[MANSON has risen, and is now the butler once more. He speaks into the ear-trumpet.]
MANSON. Your sister and the vicar, my lord.
BISHOP [behind table, rising]. Ah! Well, Martha!—No, no, no, if you please! [He restrains her approach.] Observe the retribution of an unchastened will. You have never seen my face for sixteen years! However, like a cloud, I blot out your transgressions from this hour!
And so this is your husband ?—Not a word, sir; not a single word!—the sausages were delicious, and your place has been most agreeably occupied by your brother!
VICAR. My brother! Then you . . . What do you mean?
BISHOP [testily]. I mean what I say, sir! Your brother, my brother, our brother here, of course, our Oriental brother!
AUNTIE. James, you are making a mistake: this is our new butler—our Indian butler.
BISHOP. Your Indian—WHAT?
[He stands cogitating horribly until the end of the act, facing towards MANSON.]
AUNTIE. What has made him like this? He seems possessed!
MANSON. He is! . . .
I have just been having some trouble with another devil, ma’am.
AUNTIE. Meaning, of course . . . What has become of him?
MANSON [with his eye]. He is cast out forever.
AUNTIE. Where is he now?
MANSON. He walks through dry places seeking—[he probes her soul]—other habitations.
AUNTIE. Manson! This is your doing! Oh, you have saved us!
MANSON. I am trying to, ma’am; but, God knows, you make it rather difficult!
[A change comes over her face, as the curtain slowly falls.]
THE THIRD ACT
As the curtain rises, the scene and situation remain unchanged; but attention now centres in the Bishop, who appears to be struggling apoplectically for speech.