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Eugene Walter
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 113 pages of information about The Easiest Way.

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?

JOHN.  Yes.

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?

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.

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