WILL. I know. I guess there’s enough there [Indicating money.] for your immediate needs. Later you can straighten things up. Shall I send the car?
LAURA. Yes, please.
WILL. Good. It will be the first happy evening I’ve had in a long, long time. You’ll be ready?
[Approaches and bends over her as if to caress her.
LAURA. [Shrinking away.] Please don’t. Remember we don’t dine until seven-thirty.
WILL. All right. [Exit.
For a moment LAURA sits silent, and then angrily rises, crosses up to dresser, gets alcohol lamp, crosses to table with lamp, lights same, and starts back to dresser. Knock at door.
LAURA. Come in. [ANNIE enters, and stops.] That you, Annie?
LAURA. Mrs. Farley wants her rent. There is some money. [Tosses money on to table.] Take it to her.
ANNIE goes to the table, examines the roll of bills and is palpably surprised.
ANNIE. Dey ain’t nothin’ heah, Miss Laura, but five great big one hunderd dollah bills.
LAURA. Take two. And look in that upper drawer. You’ll find some pawn tickets there. [ANNIE complies.
ANNIE. Yassum. [Aside.] Dat’s real money—dem’s yellow-backs sure.
LAURA. Take the two top ones and go get my lace gown and one of the hats. The ticket is for a hundred and ten dollars. Keep ten for yourself, and hurry.
ANNIE. [Aside.] Ten for myself—I never see so much money. [To LAURA, her astonishment nearly overcoming her.] Yassum, Miss Laura, yassum. [She goes toward door, and then turns to LAURA.] Ah’m so mighty glad yo’ out all yo’ trouble, Miss Laura. I says to Mis’ Farley now—
LAURA. [Snapping her off.] Don’t—don’t. Go do as I tell you and mind your business. [ANNIE turns sullenly and walks toward the door. At that moment LAURA sees the letter, which she has thrown on the table.] Wait a minute. I want you to mail a letter. [By this time her hair is half down, hanging loosely over her shoulders. Her waist is open at the throat, collar off, and she has the appearance of a woman’s untidiness when she is at that particular stage of her toilet. Hands letter to ANNIE, but snatches it away as ANNIE turns to go. She glances at the letter long and wistfully, and her nerve fails her.] Never mind.
ANNIE exits. Slowly LAURA puts the letter over the flame of the alcohol lamp and it ignites. As it burns she holds it in her fingers, and when half consumed throws it into waste-jar, sits on side of bed watching letter burn, then lies down across bed on her elbows, her chin in her hands, facing audience. As the last flicker is seen the curtain slowly descends.