LAURA. John, I said I’d kill myself, and I mean it. If it’s the only thing to do, I’ll do it, and I’ll do it before your very eyes. [She crosses quickly, gets keys out of satchel, opens trunk, takes gun out of trunk, stands facing JOHN—waiting a moment.] You understand that when your hand touches that door I’m going to shoot myself. I will, so help me God!
JOHN. [Stops and looks at her.] Kill yourself? [Pause.] Before me? [Pause.] All right. [Raising his voice.] Annie, Annie!
ANNIE. [Enters.] Yes, sir.
JOHN. [LAURA looks at JOHN in bewilderment.] You see your mistress there has a pistol in her hand?
ANNIE. [Frightened.] Yassuh—
JOHN. She wants to kill herself. I just called you to witness that the act is entirely voluntary on her part. Now, Laura, go ahead.
LAURA. [Nearly collapsing, drops the pistol to the floor.] John, I—can’t—
JOHN. Annie, she’s evidently changed her mind. You may go.
ANNIE. But, Miss Laura, Ah—
JOHN. [Peremptorily.] You may go. [Bewildered and not understanding, ANNIE exits through the portieres. In that same gentle tone, but carrying with it an almost frigid conviction.] You didn’t have the nerve. I knew you wouldn’t. For a moment you thought the only decent thing for you to do was to die, and yet you couldn’t go through. I am sorry for you,—more sorry than I can tell. [He takes a step towards the door.
LAURA. You’re going—you’re going?
LAURA. And—and—you never thought that perhaps I’m frail, and weak, and a woman, and that now, maybe, I need your strength, and you might give it to me, and it might be better. I want to lean on you,—lean on you, John. I know I need someone. Aren’t you going to let me? Won’t you give me another chance?
JOHN. I gave you your chance, Laura.
LAURA. [Throws arms around his neck.] Give me another.
JOHN. But you leaned the wrong way. Good-bye.
[He pulls away and goes out, slamming both doors.
LAURA. [Screaming.] John—John—I—[She sits on trunk, weeping in loud and tearful manner; rises in a dazed fashion, starts to cross, sees gun, utters loud cry of mingled despair and anger, grabs up gun, crossing to bureau, opens up-stage drawer, throws gun in, slams drawer shut, calling:] Annie! Annie!
ANNIE. [Appears through the portieres.] Ain’t
yuh goin’ away, Miss
LAURA. [Suddenly arousing herself, and with a defiant voice.] No, I’m not. I’m going to stay right here. [ANNIE crosses and opens trunk, takes out handsome dress, hangs it over back of armchair, crosses up to hat-trunk, takes out hat. LAURA takes it from her, crosses to trunk left, starts to unpack it.] Open these trunks, take out those clothes, get me my prettiest dress. Hurry up. [She goes before the mirror.] Get my new hat, dress up my body and paint up my face. It’s all they’ve left of me. [To herself.] They’ve taken my soul away with them.