The Servant in the House eBook

Charles Rann Kennedy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 90 pages of information about The Servant in the House.

[He bounces up to the door, but turns back again for a last word with MANSON.]

And I have one word for you, sir!  You are a scoundrel, sir—­a cheat, an impostor!  And if I could have my way with you, I would have you publicly whipped:  I would visit you with the utmost rigour of the law:  I would nail you up, sir, for an example!

MANSON.  I have encountered similar hostility before, my lord—­from gentlemen very like your lordship.  Allow me . . .

[He opens the door, his eyes flashing.]

BISHOP.  Don’t trouble, sir.  I can get my hat and my stick and my portmanteau for myself!  I can do very well without your assistance—­thank God!

[He stumps out.  MANSON closes the door after him, barring it, as it were, with his great left arm.  He lifts the other arm slowly, as commanding silence.  After a moment the front door is heard slamming noisily.]

[AUNTIE sinks, weeping, upon the settee.  The VICAR goes over to comfort her.  The uplifted hand of MANSON assumes the BISHOP’S sign of blessing as the curtain slowly falls.]


As the curtain rises, the scene and situation remain unchanged.

[There is heard a Ring of the Bell.  All three turn their heads, alert.]

VICAR.  If it’s my brother . . .

MANSON.  Which?

VICAR.  I meant—­the Bishop of Benares; but . . .

AUNTIE [hand on his arm, apprehensively].  William . . .

MANSON.  It wants ten minutes of the time you said you expected him. [Goes to door:  turns.] Only ten minutes.

[He goes out, closing the door softly.]

VICAR.  Ten minutes! . . .

AUNTIE.  We shall never be able to do it, William!  How can we possibly undo the work of all these years in ten minutes?  It wants a miracle.

VICAR.  We must make the attempt, somehow.

AUNTIE.  Yes—­yes:  how?  Oh, I have been blind—­blind! [She walks across the room in agitation.] Where has he gone, I wonder?  We don’t even know that—­where he is!

VICAR [making a movement].  Perhaps Manson . . .

AUNTIE.  No, no, no:  it must be ourselves . . .

Ten minutest—­And no assistance on his side:  we can’t expect it, after our treatment of him.  He will hate me most of all:  there’s the chief difficulty! . . .

VICAR.  You would say me, if you had seen his face and heard his voice this morning!

AUNTIE.  God help us.  God pity us!

VICAR.  Amen . . .

Then, there’s the child, too!  That difficulty must be faced.

AUNTIE.  Yes—­no escape!  We shall have to pay the whole debt,
William:  I see that.

VICAR.  Who knows!  Perhaps the child will have to pay most, when all is done.

AUNTIE.  The innocent for the guilty—­yes . . .  Oh, William,
William, can you ever forgive me?

Project Gutenberg
The Servant in the House from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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